Mariners topple AIS

National Youth League leaders Central Coast continued their strong start to the season with an emphatic 3-1 win over AIS in hot conditions at Pluim Park on the Central Coast on Sunday.

National Youth League leaders Central Coast continued their strong start to the season with an emphatic 3-1 win over AIS in hot conditions at Pluim Park on the Central Coast on Sunday.

The Mariners thumped Melbourne Victory 6-0 last week and again looked sharp in attack, despite the stifling conditions.

Central Coast led 2-0 at half-time after goals from Nicholas Littler in the 21st minute and striker Mitchell Duke after 32 minutes.

AIS tried hard, but rarely threatened Central Coast goalkeeper Dylan Mitchell during the first 45 minutes.

The Mariners scored their third and final goal in the 63rd minute when captain Jimmy Oates guided home a mishit shot from a team-mate to take the score to 3-0.

With the match all but over AIS got some reward when John Karatzas scored a consolation goal with the last kick of the match.

AIS had the first chance of the contest in the 12th minute when Benjamin Garuccio had a goalbound shot well blocked by Littler.

Within a minute Duke also came close to opening the scoring with his powerful shot hitting the side netting.

In a see-sawing opening to the match Stefan Mauk then had a volley well saved for AIS before Littler-s glancing header saw the Mariners take the lead.

The Mariners started to dominate the match after Littler-s goal. The home team doubled the lead in the 32nd minute when Duke finished off a move which included Kwabena Appiah-Kubi and Ben Jurman.

The Mariners all but finished off the contest 18 minutes into the second half with a lucky goal to captain James Oates.

The Mariners were on the attack and a mishit shot went into the path of Oates who guided the ball into the back of the net.

Chances were few and far between at both ends of the field for the rest of the match. The Mariners dominated possession failed to find the back of the net for a fourth time.

To their credit, AIS never stopped pressing the Mariners and made a real game of it in the second half and deserved their late goal.

Central Coast 3 (Littler 21-, Duke 32-, Oates 63-) AIS 1 (Karatzas 90 +2)