Mariner Youth unstoppable

The Central Coast Youth team has maintained its unbeaten record in the National Youth League with a comprehensive 6-0 thrashing of the Newcastle Jets at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Friday evening.

The Central Coast Youth team has maintained its unbeaten record in the National Youth League with a comprehensive 6-0 thrashing of the Newcastle Jets at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Friday evening.

Nik Mrdja grabbed a hat-trick in the drubbing while Ahmed Elrich, Shane Huke and Nicholas Fitzgerald also picked up goals to propel the Mariners into second spot on the NYL competition table with the rest of Round 7 still to play.

After a fairly even opening Mrdja broke the deadlock in the 21st minute when the Mariners turned defence into attack. Brady Smith quickly moved the ball out of his own penalty area finding Elrich totally unmarked in the midfield. He picked out Mrdja with a lovely ball over the top and the tall striker slotted home from 15 yards out.

The Jets looked to hit back with Jason Naidovski forcing a good save from Mariners- goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne from close range, while down the other end Smith should have done better when he was unmarked on the six-yard box from a corner but headed over the crossbar.

The Central Coast doubled its lead in the 36th minute when Mrdja forced his way through two defenders before squaring the ball to Elrich whose tame shot bobbled under Newcastle keeper Robbie Kolak to see the Mariners lead 2-0 at halftime.

The Central Coast picked up where they left off in the second half. Mrdja grabbed his second in the 53rd minute after David D-Apuzzo-s long range effort beat Kolak only to cannon off the crossbar for Mrdja to fire home from 10 yards out.

The visitors made it 4-0 just minutes later when Huke slotted the ball past the near post from an acute angle following a corner.

Mrdja registered his hat-trick just before the hour mark when he again showed his striker-s instincts to be in the right place at the right time. The Jets failed to clear the ball from their penalty area and the lanky Mariners striker was on hand to slot the ball home for his third goal of the night.

Nicholas Fitzgerald completed the rout in the 73rd minute when he was on hand to poke home a good cross from D-Apuzzo at the back post.

The only dark spot for the Central Coast was Huke being sent off for his second yellow card in the 68th minute. The talented midfielder will now spend a mandatory week on the sidelines which will hamper his push to return to the top team following a knee injury.

Newcastle Jets 0

Central Coast Mariners 6 (Mrdja 21, 53, 59, Elrich 36, Huke 55, Fitzgerald 73)