Mariners thump Gold Coast

Central Coast Mariners have leapfrogged Gold Coast and returned to the top of the National Youth League ladder with a 5-2 win over United at Southport on Sunday.

Central Coast Mariners have leapfrogged Gold Coast and returned to the top of the National Youth League ladder with a 5-2 win over United at Southport on Sunday.

A high-octane attack produced first-half goals for Dylan Macallister and Penny Nikas to give the Mariners breathing space and it went on with the job in the second to rack up one of its best wins of the season.

United had previously been the benchmark in the competition - undefeated until two weeks ago - but slumped to its second consecutive loss.

A compressed top end of the ladder ensured plenty was at stake in the match and the Mariners were the best prepared. Shane Huke, Matthew Lewis, and substitute Adam Ormsby added goals in the second half to complete the rout.

Central Coast made its intentions obvious early, pressing United defence from the outset and giving goalkeeper Jerrad Tyson plenty to think about.

In his first game back from injury, Macallister was in the action early, providing a good ball for Nik Mrdja who was unlucky to see his first shot sail wide.

The Mariners continued to pile on the pressure and opened the scoring from a second corner in a matter of minutes. United's defence failed to deal with the Panny Nikas cross and Macallister pounced to slide the ball between Tyson's legs and into the net.

Central Coast was relentless in its attack, firing from all angles and Tyson was forced into another good save when Brady Smith got on the end of another good ball from the busy Macallister.

Just before the half-hour mark Central Coast doubled its lead when Zac Anderson was penalised for taking Mrdja down in the box. Skipper Nikas stepped up to take the shot and was lucky to beat Tyson who guessed the right way but couldn't do enough to stop the low, hard drive.

United coach Mike Mulvay rang the changes at half-time, using his three substitutes, and although United seemed to be more committed in attack it was unable to stem the flow against the rampaging Mariners.

Mitch Bevan almost added to his tally for the season when he got a good header on a Steven Topalovic cross but Central Coast keeper Andrew Redmayne was up to the task with a fine save.

United's revival was soon put to bed when the Mariners netted their third goal, a powerful header from Lewis which was made possible by a perfect ball from Mrdja.

Bevan was unlucky to miss on several occasions but the game was far from United's reach when Huke scored with just under 30 minutes to play. United showed spirit to sneak a pair of goals past Redmayne in the space of three minutes, but could not breach the deficit.

With 12 minutes to play Ormsby came off the bench to fire a shot past replacement keeper Tim Anderson and set off the celebrations.

Gold Coast United 2 (Lustica 70, Harold 73) Central Coast Mariners 5 (Macallister 19, Nikas 29p, Lewis 58, Huke 63, Ormsby 78) @ Owen Park, Southport.