Mariners, Jets all square

Mustafa Amini made his long awaited return for Central Coast as the Mariners came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Newcastle in round one of the National Youth League on Friday night.

Mustafa Amini made his long awaited return for Central Coast as the Mariners came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Newcastle in week 1 of the National Youth League on Friday night.

Amini has not played since returning from the under-20 World Cup, but had some good touches before being replaced on the hour mark at Pluim Park on the Central Coast.

It was Amini who laid on the Mariners equaliser scored by replacement Kwabena Appiah-Kubi in the 59th minute.

With the Jets leading 1-0 courtesy of an 18th-minute volley from Chris Payne, Amini went on a run through the heart of the Jets defence and had a shot deflected into the path of Appiah-Kubi, who made no mistake from close range.

The Mariners had the best of the chances in the second half and could have easily gone on to win the contest, but the Jets defence held firm.

Mariners captain Jimmy Oates nearly won the game in second-half injury time but his powerful shot was tipped brilliantly over the bar by Jets goalkeeper Jack Duncan.

It was an entertaining way to start the season with both teams showing a willingness to attack, especially in the second half.

The Mariners started the match strongly with Amini prominent in attack with two shots deflected wide in the opening 10 minutes.

As the first half went on, the Jets started to dominate possession and were rewarded when Payne opened the scoring with a low volley at the back post.

Four minutes later Payne found the back of the net for a second time, but was ruled offside.

Newcastle 1 (Payne 18) Central Coast 1 (Appiah-Kubi 59)