Mariners, Sky Blues draw

Central Coast and Sydney both face nervous waits after their scoreless draw in their National Youth League final round clash at Pluim Park, Lisarow, on Saturday afternoon.

Central Coast and Sydney both face nervous waits after their scoreless draw in their National Youth League final round clash at Pluim Park, Lisarow, on Saturday afternoon.

The Mariners needed a win to lock up top spot but instead have to wait for the result of second-placed Perth Glory's match against Newcastle, played on Saturday night.

The Sky Blues have a longer wait and are left sweating on the result of Sunday's Gold Coast-Adelaide match to see if they can sneak into the finals.

Mariners coach Tony Walmsley was happy his players were still in contention to take out the championship, after not being 'mentally sharp' during the match.

"I'm disappointed with the performance," Walmsley said.

"It's the first time for a long time where we haven't performed in either half."

"I think we're fortunate Sydney didn't execute very well either."

The home side could have taken the lead just seven minutes into the match, when a shot from Bernie Ibini-Isei hit the crossbar, after a pinpoint free kick from Brendan Griffin.

While the Mariners looked the most likely to score in the opening half, the visitors weren't afraid to take their chances.

Central Coast shot-stopper Mathew Ryan was called into action to clear a long-range shot from Sydney's Luke Austin over the bar, and was cool under pressure just minutes later.

Ryan was again right on his game just after the half hour, diffusing another long-range strike, to continue his strong recent form.

In addition to Ryan's efforts, senior squad member Shane Huke was proving a rock at the back in defence, while Brady Smith was equally as strong, before a shoulder injury saw him leave the field in the second half.

While Sydney was forced to make two changes in the opening half due to injury, the Mariners were able to keep pushing forward.

Griffin was dangerous with another free kick late in the half, with the ensuing corner seeing Ibini-Isei again go close to scoring.

Sydney applied plenty of pressure in the opening stages of the second half. The visitors' best chance came close to the hour, with Mitchell Mallia clearing a Sydney shot off the line.

Mariners captain Panny Nikas had a solid chance 10 minutes later but was unable to capitalise.

Sydney continued to up the pressure on the home side as the second half progressed, with several attacking raids proving heart in mouth stuff for the Mariners faithful.