Cooper brace sinks Sky Blues

Gold Coast United's Mitch Cooper showed he is a striker of real quality when he delivered a brace of goals to help sink Sydney FC 3-1 in the National Youth League at WIN Jubilee Oval at Kogarah on Saturday.

Gold Coast United's Mitch Cooper showed he is a striker of real quality when he delivered a brace of goals to help sink Sydney FC 3-1 in the National Youth League at WIN Jubilee Oval at Kogarah on Saturday.

Gold Coast simply had too much pace and experience for their younger opponents.

Coach Michael Mulvey fielded five players who have tasted Hyundai A-League action this season, including Tahj Minniecon who was touted as one of the A-League's future stars when he was playing for Brisbane Roar.

It won't be long before young Cooper is playing in the elite league.

"Don't let them [A-League rival clubs] know about this kid,'' Gold Coast coach Mulvey said with a smile on his face.

Mulvey felt his team totally dominated. "Yet, we played a different type of game today. We normally play a high pressing game but we sat back and counter attacked,'' he said.

The Gold Coast could have easily gone to the half-time break ahead by three or four goals.

The Sydney defence was on the back foot for most of the first half trying to contain Minniecon, Cooper and Sammi Tesfagabr.

Gold Coast exposed Sydney down the flanks and, despite all their attacking efforts, had just the solitary goal to show. It came from Cooper after 15 minutes.

Sydney goalie Ryan Norval had earlier denied Minniecon and the East African Tesfagabr with two great saves but it was only a matter of time before the home team's defence cracked. Sydney were under so much pressure.

Sydney did have a couple of bright moments in the first half. Striker Joe Gibbs had the first scoring opportunity of the game and should have done much better with his effort after just five minutes.

Gold Coast goalie Mitchell Thorn was never tested, diving low to his left.

The only other time Thorn was under threat was in the 32nd minute when he made a one handed save at the near post from Christopher Naumoff.

Sydney really had their backs to the wall when Minniecon struck in the 52nd minute. His fellow striker Cooper collided with a Sydney defender and the ball rolled free, presenting Minniecon with a gift.

Coach Mulvey substituted Minniecon after 59 minutes, saying he had taken a knock and didn't want to risk him.

Sydney boss Ian Crook brought in three fresh legs in Jason Madonis [60th minute] and Jordan Figon and Caleb Rufer [64th minute] and the trio added an injection of life.

And defender Nathan Sherlock pulled a goal back for Sydney when he rose high at the far post to head home a corner from Mitchell Mallia after 66 minutes. But any hope Sydney thought they may have had of salvaging something out of the game was ended by speedster Cooper when he accelerated and ran onto a long ball and struck in the 77th minute.

Sydney coach Crook said he was not entirely disappointed with the result. "They [Gold Coast] had a number of experienced players out there. We have a very young team,'' he said.

"For us, it is more about developing our younger players to go on and play in the A-League.'' Sydney retain third place, while the Gold Coast move to fourth place on goal difference.

Gold Coast 3 [Cooper 15m, 77m, Minniecon 52m] Sydney FC 1 [Sherlock 66m] at WIN Jubilee, Kogarah