Mariner Youth snatch a draw

A David D'Apuzzo goal deep in injury time has seen Central Coast secure a 1-1 draw against Adelaide United in the opening game of the National Youth League season at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday.

A David D'Apuzzo goal deep in injury time has seen Central Coast secure a 1-1 draw against Adelaide United in the opening game of the National Youth League season at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday.

After an attacking but fruitless first half, the Reds took the lead in the 78th minute when an opportunist Francesco Monterosso knocked one home from close range.

Mariners substitute goalkeeper Nikodin Matic initially stopped a Joe Costa strike but he couldn't control the save and the 2008/09 NYL leading goal scorer swooped on the crumb.

Monterosso continued to attack and it appeared the home side were home. But in the final minute of play D'Appuzo found some space in the box and knocked the equaliser into the back of the net.

Reds coach Joe Mullen said his side paid the price for a lapse of concentration but preferred to focus on the positives of his team's performance.

"By and large the boys played some good football, I just want to get into them that they've got to hate to lose and it probably was a lapse of concentration at the death," he said.

"That's what hurts - good teams concentrate for 100 minutes."

Mariners coach Tony Walmsley said a draw was a fair result.

"We had a few players who took a while to settle, which is understandable, playing for the first time at this level, but the benchmark of opportunity was fantastic, and we probably proved to ourselves we can play at this level," he said.

The sides went blow for blow during the opening quarter of an hour but from that point Adelaide United got on top and threatened to score on several occasions.

Dane Milovanovic put his powerful boot to work but his clever, 19th minute volley from a tight angle was his best attempt.

Monterosso was also dangerous and almost headed a Perry Mitris corner kick past goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.

And Joel Allwright was a creative player too with his cracking strike from a Matthew Mullen cross in the 37th minute smashing into the crossbar and rebounding metres into the air.

While the half belonged to the home side, the Mariners also had their chances to hit the lead too.

Early in the piece, Wolry Wolfe and Nicholas Fitzgerald combined to give Reds goalkeeper Mark Birighitti his first challenge.

Central Coast squandered a golden opportunity to score early in the second half when Matthew Lewis got in behind the Reds' defence and was charging towards goal. He held onto the ball a second too long and a decisive Birighitti came off his line to execute a save.

Monterosso chipped in with his decisive goal but it didn't stop both sides attacking.

At the 84th David D'Apuzzo worked his way through the midfield and hammered a ball to Birighitti while Monterosso spun and kicked but was denied by Matic a minute later.

Adelaide United 1 (Monterosso 78) Central Coast 1 (D'Apuzzo 90+4) @ Hindmarsh Stadium