Gold Coast steal points

A top-shelf header from Ben Wearing helped Gold Coast United draw first blood in the National Youth League with a 2-1 victory over Central Coast at Owen Park, Southport, on Saturday.

A top-shelf header from Ben Wearing helped Gold Coast United draw first blood in the National Youth League with a 2-1 victory over Central Coast at Owen Park, Southport, on Saturday.

After trailing well into the second-half the 2009/10 champions equalised when Wearing leapt above the pack, taking the ball right out of the hands of Mariners' goalkeeper Nikodin Matic and buried it at the back post on the end of a precise Steven Lustica corner.

That 66th-minute goal opened the door and United-s replacement striker Chris Harold came screaming through to seal the win when he cleaned up a Matic deflection from a Ben Halloran shot.

The touch of Halloran was a feature of the game while the cool-head of defender Joshua Brillante allowed United to stay in the game when under the pump in the opening stages.

A vocal Chris Doig controlled the visitors from the back with Mustafa Amini showing flashes of brilliance, but it was a steady-as-she-goes approach from the Central Coast in their first hit-out.

The visiting Mariners, who took out the minor premiership last season, treated the ball like gold in the first-half and controlled possession with precision passing and decision-making.

United looked erratic at best as Halloran and Mitch Bevan tried to stretch the defence from the wings but it wasn-t long before the Mariners opened the scoring.

Amini and Brady Smith controlled the ball through the midfield for Central Coast and after 20 minutes came their first chance.

A Marc Warren cross found Smith on the edge of the goal-square; he blasted from 45-degrees but was met by a solid overhead stop from United ‘keeper Scott Higgins.

The visitors continued to control possession and Smith-s next ball in landed nicely for Doig to get a clean header which found the cross-bar before Ibini-Isei buried it into the back of the net from close range.

The Mariners took their lead and looked to protect it as United continued to play disjointed football.

Late in the half the home side began to enjoy some quality ball and had a trio of chances which could easily have ended differently.

Zachery Anderson streaked onto a perfect cross from his captain only to head over the top; Chris Broadfoot blasted high when unmarked at the penalty-spot; and Koh Satake was unlucky to see his 40-metre drive fizz over the bar.

United went to the break 1-0 down but with a change in formation and they looked a different outfit for the second stanza.

A centralised Bevan and the addition of last season-s golden boot winner Harold provided the impetus for United to steal the come-from-behind victory.

Gold Coast United: 2 (Ben Wearing 66, Chris Harold 77) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Bernie Ibini-Isei 22)