Stalemate for Victory, Mariners

Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Mariners have played out a frustrating 0-0 draw at Kingston Heath in week 15 of the National Youth League on Saturday.

Melbourne Victory and Central Coast Mariners have played out a frustrating 0-0 draw at Kingston Heath in week 15 of the National Youth League on Saturday.

It was the table-topping Mariners battling against the bottom team Victory, but the discrepancy in ladder position wasn-t noticeable as the game went down to the wire.

Both teams had a number of chances to break the deadlock, but some excellent goal-keeping and below-par finishing combined to deny a result as time expired in the frantic final minutes.

Victory keeper, Tando Velaphi, in particular, put in a stellar performance with some highly valuable and, at times, acrobatic saves.

Velaphi-s most outstanding feat was preventing Mariners striker Mitchell Duke from converting a penalty, making the correct decision to protect the middle of the goals— much to the delight of the home crowd.

It was easily Central Coast-s best chance, granted by the referee when Nicholas Ansell was penalised for impeding a Mariners- player by grabbing him by the jersey.

Just before the penalty, though, the Mariners almost scored twice on long-range attempts from Anthony Caceres and Joshua Da Silva, only to have their shots fly high and wide respectively.

Velaphi-s counterpart at the other end of the field, Dylan Mitchell, was also a key player as he also earned his clean sheet.

Mitchell negated a number of attacking forays by making bold moves to break up dangerous balls that wound their way through to the last line of Central Coast-s defence.

The Mariners- keeper also combatted numerous crosses from corners by clearing the area with strong defiance.

Victory subsititute Luc Jeggo was close to finding the back of the net on two separate occasions, close to injury time, but was blocked by the outstretched hand of Mitchell.

The first half echoed the theme of the whole game as it was dominated by missed opportunities, largely due to slippery conditions.

Duke was denied twice by Velaphi, the first attempt being a high-powered volley that cannoned into the hands of the lunging keeper.

The second was smothered by a sliding Velaphi, after the Mariners- striker wound his way through the Victory defence.

A low bullet pass that was almost rushed in to the net by Luke O-Dea was clearly Victory-s best chance of the first stanza, and they had a second crack when Hernan Espindola almost scored off the rebound.

The referee was busy too, handing Central Coast-s Sam Gallagher a red card for a sloppy challenge and Caceres and Nicholas Littler were both recipients of yellow cards in the first half.

In the end, the two sides could both have had claim to victory, but the coaches, no doubt, would have been pleased with the stingy work of their goal keepers.

Melbourne Victory 0 Central Coast Mariners 0