Mariners overpower Heart

A standout performance from Tomas Rogic and a quality brace from Mitchell Duke helped the Central Coast Mariners to a deserved 3-1 victory over Melbourne Heart in the National Youth League clash at Pluim Park.

A standout performance from Tomas Rogic and a quality brace from Mitchell Duke helped the Central Coast Mariners to a deserved 3-1 victory over Melbourne Heart in the National Youth League clash at Pluim Park.

Heart pulled out to an early lead through Zac Walker before Central Coast hit straight back via Bradley Treloar's unfortunate own goal.

Duke's second-half double was just reward for a home side that dominated the match and could have scored more had it not been for Sebastian Mattei's heroics in the Heart goal.

Both sides adopted the formations of their respective senior sides and new signing Rogic gave onlooking Hyundai A-League coach Graham Arnold plenty to think about with his eye-catching 45-minute showing in the No.10 role.

But it was the visitors who struck first as Mariners goalkeeper Justin Pasfield failed to latch on to Heart captain Craig Goodwin's searching through ball amid confusion at the back, allowing Walker to tap into an empty net.

Just four minutes later Treloar was the unlucky one to level matters when Duke's powerful cutback deflected off the defender and inside the near post.

Hulking attacker Rogic sought to put his side ahead with a clever turn and shot but Mattei managed to turn it onto the post and out for a corner.

Overage player Adam Kwasnik was the more quiet of the attacking triumvirate but he did well to slide Duke in for a shot, but Mattei clawed it away with his fingertips.

A similar Kwasnik-Duke link up brought about another chance for Mattei to show his wares as the first half wore on, and the goalkeeper pulled off the save of the match with a diving stop high to his left.

Rogic's exit brought about some respite for John Aloisi's men in the second half, although replacement playmaker Anthony Caceres also impressed along with fit again overage midfielder Stuart Musialik and versatile defender Sam Gallagher.

Central Coast wingback Brad McDonald had toiled hard in midfield in the first half but excelled when released down the left in the second, and his mazy dribble before the hour mark eventually led to a cutback that was met with a powerful low finish from Duke.

The lethal striker then lit up the match with his second of the match and the Mariners' third as his half volley on the turn from outside the box hooked into the top far corner of the goal.

Heart forward Stipo Andrijasevic had tested Pasfield with a well-struck volley between Duke's goals but it was ultimately a tough day out for the high-flying Melbourne side, and a match full of positives for Mariners coaches at both youth and senior levels.

Central Coast Mariners Youth 3 (Treloar (own goal) 7', Duke 57' 73') Melbourne Heart Youth 1 (Walker 3')