Young Mariners denied Victory in Melbourne

Central Coast Mariners National Youth League Head Coach Tony Walmsley has urged his side to keep its collective chins up, after a frustrating 2-1 defeat at the hands of Melbourne Victory this afternoon.

Central Coast Mariners National Youth League Head Coach Tony Walmsley has urged his side to keep its collective chins up, after a frustrating 2-1 defeat at the hands of Melbourne Victory this afternoon.

Despite taking the lead just six minutes into the contest, the Mariners were unable to hold on against a Victory side containing Hyundai A-League squad members Matthew Kemp, Marvin Angulo, Leigh Broxham and Geoff Kellaway.

“We conceded two soft goals which was frustrating, but there were some elements of the performance which were very encouraging, particularly against a very strong lineup,” said Walmsley.

Coming off the back of a two-week break, the Young Mariners were quick to find their stride, as Victory's Kellaway gave the ball away after a marauding run and when Bernie Ibini-Isei streaked down the right for Central Coast to cut back for Nick Fitzgerald in the sixth minute, he tucked home with ease

Broxham, one of four overage players for Melbourne, surged forward but screwed his shot wide of the near post with Victory's first real chance of the match after 13 minutes.

The Mariners were utilising 18-year-old Ibini-Isei's pace down the right, he was in everything early, exposing left back Luke Pilkington on numerous occassions to get crosses in from dangerous positions. Mitchell Mallia was similarly effective on the left for the Mariners, with his pace and drive troubling the returning Kemp.

Just as it seemed the Yellow and Navy would enter the sheds with the half time advantage, Kellaway was released again into acres of space. He opted to go himself and cut back inside to lash Victory level in the 39th minute with a fierce left-foot shot that beat Mariners' 'keeper David Bradasevic all ends up.

Overage players Broxham and particularly Marvin Angulo were beginning to influence the match and with that Victory assumed the ascendency.

Kemp made way at half-time for Paulo Retre but Melbourne continued to build on their momentum. Kellaway's glancing touch from a corner was cleared off the line at the far post on 55 minutes but when Broxham delivered for Foschini on 68 minutes, he turned home the ball to put Victory ahead 2-1.

Max Glanville had a golden chance to level proceedings moments later after some neat play from Trent Sainsbury, but he took too long to pull the trigger.

On 87 minutes Kellaway seemed to have wrapped it up at 3-1 with a tap in but he was called back for offside. The Mariners broke immediately through Griffin as Victory were still celebrating, but he scuffed his shot straight at the 'keeper with the goal beckoning.

“I don-t think we deserved to lose,” said Walmsley.

“Getting the equaliser would have done us justice, so it was frustrating in that respect but the overall performance showed there are signs of real improvement.

“To be fair to the lads it was a gallant fightback after we went behind, they showed a lot of character, and when pushed to produce they did.

A positive sign for the Central Coast was the return of Hyundai A-League squad member Trent Sainsbury, who played the full 90 minutes at right back after more than a month on the sidelines with a knee injury.

Melbourne Victory: 2 (Kellaway 39, Foschini 68) Central Coast Mariners: 1 (Fitzgerald 6) @ John Cain Memorial Park