Central Coast Mariners Youth and Western Sydney Wanderers Youth put on an entertaining display of attacking football in Tuggerah on Sunday, with the junior Wanderers emerging narrow 3-2 victors.The first half remained goalless despite both sides producing copious opportunities to score. Western Sydney Wanderers custodian Thomas Manos was arguably the most impressive player on the pitch in the first 45 – thrice he prevented Mariners Youth from opening the scoring at the Club’s Centre of Excellence.
But while near misses and impressive saves were the order of the day in the opening half, the second period saw fans witness action aplenty as the chances and goals flowed.
Wanderers Youth broke the deadlock in the 50th minute when former Central Coast Mariners Youth player Kwabena Appiah stormed down the right and managed to finish past Adam Pearce on the angle.
In the 71st minute striker Michael Trajovski doubled Western Sydney’s advantage when he sent a thumping shot into the back of the net. Pearce appeared to have been fouled in the lead up, however, so home fans were left frustrated that the refereeing team let Trajovski’s effort stand.
Five minutes later the junior black and reds made the score 3-0 when Jonathan Aspropotamitis headed past Pearce. The marking from Mariners Youth was, on this occasion, a bit loose.
Despite being down 3-0, the mini Mariners refused to give up on the game and in the 80th minute got a goal back. Substitute Trent Buhagiar worked his way down the right before cutting the ball back for Anthony Kalik. Kalik sent a rasping left foot shot beyond Manos to score the best goal of the game.
Two minutes later Kalik sent a free kick just wide of Manos’ left post, then in the 85th minute Buhagiar saw his strike saved by the impressive Manos.
In the second minute of time added on influential Mariners Youth midfielder Jake McGing poked home following a goalmouth scramble to make the score 3-2 and provide hope that Stu Jacobs’ side could find a late leveller.
But despite Mariners Youth launching everything they could at the Wanderers defence in the final two minutes of added time, the young yellow and navy couldn’t manage to restore parity to the contest.
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Kalik 80’, McGing 90+2’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 3 (Appiah 50’, Trajovski 71’, Aspropotamitis 75’)
Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence, Tuggerah