Central Coast broke their Foxtel National Youth League duck at the 11th time of asking with a surprise 5-2 hammering of the AIS.
The Central Coast Mariners finally broke their Foxtel National Youth League duck at the 11th time of asking this season with a surprise 5-2 hammering of the AIS in Canberra.
The Mariners found their goal touch with an excellent display of emphatic finishing to which the Institute had no answer with the travelling support revelling in a superb performance from the visitors.
The cloud cover over the venue provided the perfect conditions for football taking the edge off the high temperatures and allowing the players to express themselves in what was a bright opening from both teams.
The hosts created the first meaningful chance, Dylan Smith forcing Mariners stopper James Bradasevic into a sharp save after the striker opted to control a cross rather than take on the volley.
The Mariners responded with a header from imposing striker Josh Bingham in the 11th minute with the Central Coast skipper nodding wide when he might have done better, left unmarked inside the area following a corner.
But decent opportunities were at a premium in the opening quarter with neither goalkeeper forced to make a save.
That was soon to change as the bottom-of-the-table Mariners took the lead in the 22nd minute with a beautifully-crafted goal.
Bingham showed his class with an exquisite touch to draw the AIS defence out of position and release Jacob Esposito, marauding forward from wide midfield, who finished well, stabbing a low finish between the legs of the advancing Lucas Spinella.
The AIS response was immediate. After a four-minute delay for a drinks break, the home team struck within seconds of the restart.
Bright Appiah created it, beating his man and sending over a low cross for midfielder Josh Rose who didn't need to break stride, guiding his finish with precision into the bottom corner.
Parity lasted a mere six minutes, though, as the Mariners restored their lead.
A swift break culminated in Patrick Dixon collecting a through ball on his chest and firing a crisp right-foot shot beyond the sprawling Spinella for a well-taken second.
And the cellar dwellers were in dreamland as they extended their advantage twice more before the break.
Another Mariners counterattack caught the AIS on the back foot and when a cross was only half-cleared it fell nicely for Jesse Curran who sent a thunderbolt crashing past Spinella from 25 metres.
Moments later Hayden Morton scrambled the ball home from close range after Spinella had denied Esposito a second time as the lead increased to 4-1 at the interval.
Incredibly it was to get even better for Central Coast early in the second half as they went 5-1 up with another astounding finish.
Again the AIS didn't appear to do much wrong as they cleared their lines 30 metres from goal.
The ball bounced kindly for Dominic Ferguson however and the Mariners midfielder sent a stunning looping volley from distance over the head of Spinella and into the net for an amazing goal.
The AIS introduced Matthew Ntoumenopoulos, Jordan Pudler and Bai Antoniou in an effort to turn the tide but their luck was out with Antoniou, scorer of three goals this season, lasting a mere seven minutes before being replaced through injury.
To their credit the hosts kept battling with Marc Ochieng a willing outlet out wide and Rose his usual industrious self.
And it was Rose who showcased his silky skills with a wonderful assist in the 73rd minute.
The midfielder, who has signed for the Mariners for next season, alerted his future employers to just what they are getting with a swivel and turn to leave two men for dead, before releasing a slide-rule pass into the path of Marino who did the rest.
Marino clipped a finish past Bradasevic from close to the penalty spot for a fine consolation goal.
AIS 2 (Liam Rose 26-, Marc Marino 73-) Central Coast Mariners 5 (Jacob Esposito 22-, Patrick Dixon 32-, Jesse Curran 44-, Hayden Morton 45+3-, Dominic Ferguson 56-)
AIS: 30. Lucas SPINELLA, 9. Todd NORRIS, 10. Dylan SMITH (16. Jordan PUDLER 58-), 11. Marc MARINO (24. Bai ANTONIOU 55-, 11. Marc MARINO 62-) , 12. Marc OCHIENG, 15. Liam YOULLEY (6. Matthew NTOUMENOPOULOS 58-), 18. Alexander GERSBACH, 19. Bright APPIAH, 21. George TIMOTHEOU, 22. Liam ROSE, 23. Rocco PIZZATTA
Central Coast Mariners: 1. David BRADASEVIC, 2. Jacob ESPOSITO, 3. Joshua FORBES, 5.Liam ODELL (4. Adrian VLASTELICA 62-), 6. Jesse CURRAN (15. Lachlan EVERITT 58-), 8. Nathan VERITY, 9. Patrick DIXON, 10. Dominic FERGUSON (6. Jesse CURRAN 84-), 11. Josh BINGHAM, 13. Hayden MORTON, 14. Steve WHYTE (7. Dillon VORSTER 58-)
YELLOW CARDS: 11. Marc MARINO, 15. Liam YOULLEY (AIS), 3. Joshua FORBES, 6. Jesse CURRAN (Central Coast Mariners)