Sydney FC’s Foxtel National Youth League side cruised to a 3-0 win against the Central Coast Mariners at Tuggerah on Saturday, to wrap up back to back Conference B Premierships and book a second successive Foxtel National Youth League Grand Final spot.
With the Mariners needing a win and Sydney FC only requiring a point to reach the Grand Final it was the Sky Blues that started the match the brightest with good high pressing against the Central Coast backline which had former Sky Blue Jacques Faty in their line up.
The early pressure paid off as the Sky Blues forced a corner kick in the 6th minute which was whipped into the box by Nicola Kuleski for William Mutch to leap high and flick on before the ball took a deflection off Faty and went in for an early 1-0 lead.
Sydney FC had Central Coast Mariners on the back foot for much of the half and could’ve extended the lead with chances falling to Charles Lokolingoy and Juan Zapata. At the other end centre backs Patrick Flottmann and George Timotheou stood firm while keeper Tom Manos was also solid when called upon with the Mariners rarely threatening except for a long range effort which struck the crossbar.
Sydney FC took their lead into the change rooms at the break where Head Coach Rob Stanton challenged his players to lift a notch for the second period while making two substitutions bringing on Bai Antoniou for Zapata and Cristian Gonzalez for Brendan Curtis.
The Mariners enjoyed their best period of the fixture after the restart with some controlled possession however they found it difficult to break down the resolute Sky Blues defence and midfield led by Andrea Agamemnonos and Chris Zuvela.
Sydney FC came back into the game and almost extended the lead following chances to Lokolingoy and Zuvela however both efforts were just wide of the post while Antoniou also had a chance in the area but his shot was straight at the keeper.
The break through eventually came after 79 minutes when Antoniou forced a turnover in the middle of the park and slid the ball into the path of Chris Arditti who calmly rounded the advancing keeper and slotted into an open goal for 2-0.
In the 92nd minute Antoniou was involved again with another assist when he dribbled his way into the penalty area, drew three Mariners defenders towards him before slipping the ball wide to Mutch who finished from a tight angle to make it 3-0 on the day and secure the title and Grand Final berth.
Stanton was extremely proud of his players for how they stuck to the game plan. "It's always pleasing to see what you work on in training come to fruition on game day" he said.
The Premiership is the eighth title Rob Stanton has secured for Sydney FC since joining the club as NYL/NPL Head Coach in 2015.
The FOXTEL National Youth League 2017 Grand Final will kick-off at 2pm AEDT with gates at Central Coast Stadium to open at 1.30pm.
MATCH DETAILS: FOXTEL National Youth League 2017 Grand Final
Winner Conference A (Melbourne City FC) v Winner Conference B (Sydney FC)
Saturday 28 January 2016 Central Coast Stadium, Gosford Kick-Off 2pm AEDT (gates open 1.30pm)
The match will be LIVE on FOX SPORTS 505
Sydney FC 3 (William Mutch 2; Chris Arditti 1) defeated Central Coast Mariners 0
Sydney FC Line Up: Tom Manos (GK); Brendan Curtis (Cristian Gonzalez 46'); George Timotheou; Patrick Flottmann; Nicola Kuleski (C); Andrea Agamemnonos; Chris Zuvela; Chris Arditti; Juan Zapata (Bai Antoniou 46'); Charles Lokolingoy (Liam McGing 77'); William Mutch.
Subs Not Used: Mitch Evans (GK).
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