Young Mariners kick five clear at the top

The Central Coast Mariners National Youth League side has tightened its stranglehold at the top of the ladder, after registering it’s fourth straight victory, on this occasion, a 2-1 win over Sydney FC.

The Central Coast Mariners National Youth League side has tightened its stranglehold at the top of the ladder, after registering it-s fourth straight victory, on this occasion, a 2-1 win over Sydney FC.

Goals from Adam Kwasnik after just seven minutes and super-sub Mitchell Mallia, with his first touch of the afternoon, gave the Mariners a much deserved three points against their big city rivals.

"It-s a good position to be in," said National Youth League head coach Tony Walmsley.

"Credit to Sydney FC, for long spells they were probably the better side. They had some good chances, but thanks to Andrew Redmayne keeping them down to one goal, he put in a fantastic performance, but we took a couple of good chances, excellent finish from Mitchell Mallia and Kwas (Adam Kwasnik). Ahmad (Elrich) and Kwas linked up really well in the first half, but they had to work hard for that one."

Already two points clear at the top of the National Youth League, the afternoon couldn-t have started any better for Tony Walmsley-s side, as they took the lead inside the opening seven minutes.

Hyundai A-League squad member Ahmad Elrich launched a curling effort from outside the area, and while Sydney FC custodian Nenad Vekic did well to tip the shot onto the post, he was let down by his defence, as Adam Kwasnik pounced on the rebound to calmly slot home.

The hosts looked to work their way immediately back in the contest on eleven minutes, as Raymond Miller went on a good run down the right and played Joel Chianese through, but Andrew Clark was on hand to expertly clear the danger from the ensuing cross.

Miller and Chianese linked up again minutes later, when the former floated a dangerous cross in, and Chianese watched on as his header sailed marginally wide of Andrew Redmayne-s back post.

The Mariners had a good chance to go ahead soon after as Nick Fitzgerald fed Matthew Lewis down the left, who in turn whipped a cross in toward the back post, unfortunately though, Andrew Clark-s shot on the edge of the area took a deflection.

From the ensuing corner, Vekic could only punch the danger as far as Fitzgerald on the edge of the area, who sent his shot straight at Vekic.

Luke Austin sent a weak shot at at Redmayne while the Mariners- custodian was forced to do a little more work as Miller launched a rocket, forcing the Young Socceroo to parry away for a corner.

With the Central Coast looking set to take their one goal buffer into the break, Joseph Gibbs picked up a loose ball in midfield, and went on a mazy run before sending a wonderful shot into the back of the net from the edge of the area.

The one goal buffer could very nearly have been restored at the other end, as Fitzgerald floated a free kick into the area, and Panny Nikas flicked the header on, however Vekic managed to pick the ball out just millimetres from the boot of a charging Kwasnik, meaning the scores would remain even at the break.

Kwasnik had another good chance to add to his tally for the afternoon soon after the resumption, as he rounded Jurman but could only watch on as his effort sailed over the bar.

It wouldn-t be long though before the yellow and navy did have their second, Mitchell Mallia picking up a loose ball just second after his introduction, and with barely enough time to get his bearings, cut inside his marker and curled the shot neatly past Vekic.

Chianese fired over the bar on 58 minutes and on the hour could probably have counted himself unlucky not to have won his side a penalty, after it appeared he had been brought down inside the area, however Brett Hookham adjudged it was marginally outside, and Dimitrios Petratos sent the resulting set piece over the bar.

Andrew Redmayne came through a busy period midway through the second half unscathed, as first Petratos forced him into a stunning save after latching on to a good ball in from Miller, before doing it a lot easier after Chianese scuffed a shot.

Matthew Lewis had a shot cleared and Panny Nikas sent a free kick from the left channel across the face of goal as the clock wound down, but the Mariners had already done more than enough, to register a 2-1 victory, and more importantly, open up a five point buffer at the top of the National Youth League ladder.

"We both had a bit of bad luck, they could have had a penalty in the second half and we thought their goal was offside, but that-s the way it goes sometimes.

"After a good start our midfield couldn-t get any purchase in the game and we conceded a lot of possession today, so it was almost inevitable that they would create some chances.

"In the second half we pushed a bit higher up the field, and we got our reward for that.

"Everybody is pushing for a start. (Brendan) Griffin came on and did well, Jerry (Kalouris) had a solid game at left back, I can-t really fault the boys," said Walmsley.

The Mariners- next home match of the National Youth League 2009/10 season will be against Perth Glory on Sunday, 3 January at Pluim Park, Lisarow. Kick-off is at 10:00am. Entry is Free.

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Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 2. Nathan SHERLOCK, 3. Jerry KALOURIS, 6. Manny GIANNAROS, 8. Nick FITZGERALD (11. Mitchell MALLIA 54-), 9. Adam KWASNIK, 10. Panny NIKAS (C), 12. Andrew CLARK (5. Luka DUKIC 45-), 14. Brady SMITH (7. Brendan GRIFFIN 60-), 17. Matthew LEWIS, 18. Ahmad ELRICH.

Unused Subs 20. Nik MATIC (GK).

Yellow Cards Lewis 71-, Nikas 74-, Giannaros 90+2- Red Cards None Goals Kwasnik 7-, Mallia 56-

Sydney FC 1. Nenad VEKIC (GK), 3. Mitchell SPEER (2. Steven TIBBETTS 60-), 4. Joseph GIBBS, 7. Dimitrios PETRATOS, 8. Anthony GOLEC (5. Sam GALLAGHER 60-), 9. Matthew JURMAN, 11. Iain RAMSAY (6. Sam MUNRO 57-), 13. Joel CHIANESE, 14. Tim McGOWAN, 15. Raymond MILLER, 17. Luke AUSTIN.

Unused Subs 20. Mark PULLMAN (GK).

Yellow Cards Golec 55-, Jurman 81-, McGowan 81- Red Cards None Goals Gibbs 45+2-

Referee Brett HOOKHAM