Gold Coast claim NYL classic

There were goals galore at Owen Park on Saturday afternoon, with Gold Coast United claiming a stunning 5-3 victory over a gallant Australian Institute of Sport side in their National Youth League clash.

There were goals galore at Owen Park on Saturday afternoon, with Gold Coast United claiming a stunning 5-3 victory over a gallant Australian Institute of Sport side in their National Youth League clash.

Both sides were at their best in an absolutely scintillating match of football, which peaked with four goals in a madcap six-minute stretch in the first half - but it was the hosts who went the distance in the end.

Mitch Cooper and Jake Barker-Daish both scored a brace each but a strong United side were asked plenty of questions some of Australia's finest young players from the Institute.

Six members of United's starting XI had tasted Hyundai A-League action so far this season, and only two were not official youth team players.

But despite the massive gulf in experience between the two sides, it was the upstarts from the AIS who took a shock early lead in just the fifth minute.

The move came about after Michael Taurasi beat Eritrean refugee Ambes Yosief on the right flank to get in behind the Gold Coast defence with plenty of options in the box.

The youngster's cross took a deflection but it fell straight to Anthony Proia at the far post, and he tapped away an easy goal from close range.

Unhappy to have fallen behind to such a relatively inexperienced side on their own home turf, United put their heads down and hunted for an equalizer.

They found it in the 22nd minute with a brilliant team goal. Left-winger Sami Tesfagabr spotted Chris Harold in acres of space on the opposite side and switched the play with a beautiful looped ball.

From there, it was elementary. Harold broke into the box, drew the defender and cut back to poacher Chris Lucas, who capped off the move with a great finish into the side netting.

Just as the AIS were coming to grips with what had just happened, Gold Coast struck again and put their noses in front on the scoreboard.

Barely 60 seconds after Lucas' goal, Barker-Daish fired his side into the lead after Josh Brillante's shot from outside the box cannoned into the upright.

Four minutes later, the madness continued and Phil Stubbins' men restored parity through Benjamin Garuccio.

The attacker timed his run through the middle to perfection and when Proia pulled the trigger with the pass, there was little the hosts could do to stop him.

But again, another goal followed less than a minute later, and with it Gold Coast snatched back the lead. Played in by Tesfagabr, Barker-Daish bagged his double and made it 3-2.

There was far less action in front of goal for the rest of the first half and even for the opening stages of the second, but the AIS never yielded as they searched for a way to come back into the game.

In the 65th minute they did just that, with Joshua Barresi the beneficiary of some lovely interplay in the danger area, scoring to lock the match away at 3-3.

From there, the visitors looked far more likely to find the back of the net again and claim the three points, pressing right Gold Coast back into their own half and finding new impetus through substitute Bright Appiah.

But United remained dangerous on the counter-attack, and Brillante was the architect as the reigning NYL champions reclaimed the ascendancy for the third and final time during the match with just under a quarter our remaining.

The versatile midfielder slipped the ball through to Cooper, who made no mistake with a brilliant finish from a difficult position.

Cooper put the icing on the cake for his side late on with an exquisite piece of skill, latching onto a long ball before beating one defender and looping the ball over AIS shotstopper Jordan Thurtell to complete his brace.

Gold Coast United 5 (Lucas 22, Barker-Daish 23, 28, Cooper 76, 90+1) Australian Institute of Sport 3 (Proia 5, Garuccio 27, Barresi 66)