Kids pay off for Sydney

Sydney FC coach John Kosmina says he has no choice but to continuing investing in youth as the Sky Blues make a late lunge for the Hyundai A-League finals.

Sydney FC coach John Kosmina says he has no choice but to continuing investing in youth as the Sky Blues make a late lunge for the Hyundai A-League finals.

The Sydney boss fielded eight players under the age of 24 in Sunday night's must-win clash with Wellington and was rewarded with a gritty 1-0 victory.

The youngest player on the park - 17-year-old striker Kofi Danning - pinched the match-winner with five minute left.

The late win keeps Sydney's finals hopes alive - mathematically at least - with five points separating the Sky Blues and fourth spot.

Two of Kosmina's 'Baby Blues' - Danning and Rhyan Grant - will miss next Saturday's clash with Queensland due to commitments with the Australian Youth Olympic festival, but the coach will keep faith with the rest of his young guns.

"We might have to. I don't think we've got a choice to be honest," he said.

"What we were doing wasn't working. I said to the players I don't like making changes but the point we were at I didn-t have much of a choice."

Stand-in skipper Terry McFlynn said of the youngsters: "We've seen them on the training park and known what they can do and it was just a matter of whether they could do it in front of 10-11,000 people."

"They all stepped up and are going to be great prospects for this club."

Kosmina denied the move towards youth was aimed at putting a rocket up some of his non-performing senior players.

"Changes shouldn't spark senior players into life. They should be hungry enough on their own," he pointed out.

Wellington coach Ricki Herbert thought his team should have been able to put Sydney's kids under greater pressure.

But Troy Hearfield's 64th-minute dismissal for head-butting Alex Brosque put pay to the visitors' hopes, leaving their top four chances dangling by a thread.

"I think it's put quite a dent in it. We've got two more big games - Adelaide and Melbourne away - so the task gets no easier," Herbert said of the playoffs picture.

"We won't be giving up yet. The ball's really in our court now. It's up to us."

"I'm just disappointed with the lack of discipline (by Hearfield), getting a player sent off at a critical time."

"The finals are on the line and discipline is a strong part of what we do."

"We've put our foot on the pedal for a number of weeks now and to get to this critical stage and not really whack it down is disappointing."