Young Mariners Roar over Brisbane Youth

The Central Coast Mariners have consolidated top spot on the National Youth League table after comprehensive 4-3 victory over the Brisbane Roar this afternoon.

The Central Coast Mariners have consolidated top spot on the National Youth League table after comprehensive 4-3 victory over the Brisbane Roar this afternoon.

There was plenty of action in the game with seven goals and six different names on the score sheet.

For the Mariners Nik Mrdja netted a brace with goals to Matthew Crowell and Brady Smith, while in reply for the Roar Luke Bratten, Kenneth Dougall and Stefan Vrbesic completed the scoring.

Mariners head coach Tony Walmsley was happy with the result but disappointed with conceding three goals.

"The result was good but I-m really disappointed with conceding three goals. All of the goals could have been avoided.

"We didn-t apply ourselves enough in defence and again that-s something we will reflect on and work on it during the week," Walmsley said.

The Young Mariners attacking intentions were made clear in just the second minute of the match when Nick Fitzgerald split the Brisbane defence with an incisive run but was unable to get a shot away.

Brisbane were awarded a free kick in a great attacking position in the eighth minute of play but the Mariners held their ground and from the deflection were able to quickly launch a counter attack. Hyundai A-League squad member Nik Mrdja unleashed a perfectly time pass to put Fitzgerald away with the latter able to shrug off his marker and cut inside. His shot struck with solid technique, missed the far post by inches.

Fitzgerald was in the thick of the action again five minutes later when his weighted cross fell to Mitchell Mallia at the far post. Mallia launched himself acrobatically at the ball but was unable to squeeze his shot past the hands of Brisbane custodian Matthew Action.

An ineffective clearance by the Mariners almost allowed the visitors from the northern state to open the scoring courtesy of Isaka Cernak but in the end his shot fell safely into the hands of Andrew Redmayne.

A lovely passage of passes between Nik Mrdja and Brady Smith brought the crowd to their feet but Mrdja-s final touch let the sharpshooter down with his shot ending up in the grandstand.

Brisbane were again awarded a free kick in a great attacking position minutes later but Bob Malcolm did not have his kicking boots on and the shot sailed harmlessly out of play.

The Young Mariners were defending in the well with the back four of Kalouris, Giannaros, Sherlock and Dukic looking particularly composed in the first half.

With the Mariners passing the ball around beautifully in the first half it seemed that the first goal would come from a passing movement, instead the opening goal came from the boot of Matthew Crowell.

The ball fell to the feet of Crowell in the 25th minute at a distance of about twenty-five yards and with the most subtle of touches, he was able to give himself the time and space to drive home his shot. This he duly did and with so much venom on his shot, Matthew Action could only watch as the ball rippled his net.

Andrew Redmayne was almost too casual in a clearance with Stefan Vrbesic almost poaching the ball to give Brisbane the equaliser.

Brisbane would not have to wait long for another opportunity to get a goal past the Young Socceroos- custodian. Kenneth Dougall put through a lovely through-ball to Luke Bratten who was able to drive the ball home past Redmayne in the 35th minute.

Bratten scored only seconds before was substituted and the Mariners could only wish the process had been completed seconds earlier.

Redmayne was again called into action sixty seconds later pulling off a fine diving save to deny Stefan Vrbesic.

The Mariners reply was swift with Mrdja shrugging off an ineffectual challenge from Bob Malcolm to clinically finish a passage of play that began deep in the Young Mariners territory in the 37th minute.

The Mariners had a chance to regain the lead with a lovely pass from Matthew Crowell finding an unmarked Nick Fitzgerald on the left flank but Action was able to defuse the situation.

Deep in stoppage time Nik Mrdja delivered a perfectly timed pass to Brady Smith. The young striker full of confidence after his goal-scoring performance from last week, flicked the ball expertly up the air and volleyed home to give the Mariners a two goal buffer at the break.

Brisbane came out desperate to get back into the match and Andrew Packer made clear their intentions with a snap-shot on goal clattering into the crossbar immediately after the resumption of play.

Brady Smith and Panny Nikas combined with a lovely passing combination that split the Brisbane defence but unfortunately for the home side Action was able to dive on the loose ball to defuse the situation.

Brisbane managed to pull a goal back courtesy of the boot of Kenneth Dougall in the 53rd minute. The Young Mariners had plenty of bodies behind the ball, but were unable to clear it out of danger.

Clearly frustrated by conceding a second goal the home side continued to press forward searching for a fourth goal.

It came courtesy of the boot of Nik Mrdja. The Mariners were rewarded a free kick from twenty eight yards out. Mrdja stepped up and drilled the ball into the top corner of the net.

Mrdja thought he had completed a hat trick in the 75th minute when he audaciously chipped over Action. The ball looked certain to trickle into the open net but it bobbled at the last instance, took a sharp right turn and missed the post by inches much to the chagrin of the experienced marksman.

Brisbane had a chance to put another goal on the Mariners but plenty of bodies behind the ball denied Vrbesic the chance to get any power into his shot.

A chance for the Mariners to put the result beyond doubt but Mrdja was thwarted by a diving Acton.

Instead it was Brisbane who would complete the scoring. A well-timed pass from Alistair Quinn split the Mariners defence and gave Vrbesic the opportunity to finish past replacement ‘keeper Matthew Ryan in the final minute of stoppage time.

The final winning margin of one goal was enough to give the Mariners the points but it was a disappointment for the Mariners to have their net breached three times.

"I thought we were very comfortable all the way through the match today, but again we were accountable for all three goals conceded.

"Full credit to Brisbane they had some good players out there but I thought we were very comfortable," Walmsley said.

"We didn-t pass out from the back as well as we have done in the past. However we counterattacked very well. There-s always something we can look back on and say we need to improve on that.

"I wouldn-t say we played the best passing game today, we didn-t keep possession for long enough today. Overall we counterattacked well and to score four goals again today was a good return," Walmsley said.

"We work hard on transition a lot at training and if pressing forward on the break is on then that-s what we will do. It helps when you have Mrdja holding the ball up giving the Mariners a chance to get there. Mitch was breaking quickly as was Brady today and we got rewards for those efforts.

"It-s a massive game for us next week, it-s a good opportunity for the boys to play against one of the big guns in the competition at a big stadium.

"We-re looking forward to it."

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.

Mariners Four Match Christmas Packs for the remainder of the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 season are now available online by Clicking Here or by phoning 1300 767 442.

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK) (20. Matthew RYAN (GK) 80-), 2. Nathan SHERLOCK, 3. Jerry KALOURIS, 5. Luka DUKIC, (4. Matthew LIDDALL 60-) 6. Manny GIANNAROS, 8. Nick FITZGERALD, 10. Panny NIKAS (C), 11. Mitchell MALLIA, (9. Gavin FORBES 60-) 12. Matt CROWELL, (7. Brendan GRIFFIN 60-) 14. Brady SMITH, 18. Nik MRDJA.

Unused Subs None

Yellow Cards Dukic 18-, Smith 49-, Crowell 53- Red Cards None Goals Crowell 25-, Mrdja 37-, 65-, Smith 45+2-

Brisbane Roar 1. Matthew ACTON (GK), 3. Alistair QUINN, 4. Andrew PACKER, 5. Daniel BOWLES (2. Matthew BYRNE 49-) (C), 7. Luke BRATTEN, (6. Daniel TESORO 35-), 10. Stefan VRBESIC, 12. Kenneth DOUGALL, 13. Isaka CERNAK, 14. Bob MALCOLM, 15. Antony SCHIAVO, (9. Michael RYAN 45-) 16. Matt MUNDY.

Unused Subs 20. Luke MUIR (GK)

Yellow Cards Bratten 26- Red Cards Goals Bratten 35-, Dougall 53-, Vrbesic 90+3'

Referee Stuart WOLFE