Mariners Youth shock Sydney

Central Coast Mariners recorded their first win of the campaign to shock leader and reigning champion Sydney FC with a 3-1 National Youth League victory at Seymour Shaw Park in Sydney.

Central Coast Mariners recorded their first win of the campaign to shock leader and reigning champion Sydney FC with a 3-1 National Youth League victory at Seymour Shaw Park in Sydney.

With three wins from as many starts and having already built a four-point lead at the top of the standings, Sydney was home favourite against a side which had recorded two draws in its two matches to date.

The visitors, though, lined up with four overage players in Brad Porter, Lachlan Cahill, Matthew Crowell and former Qantas Socceroo Ahmad Elrich. The home side conversely fielded Adam Casey as its only senior squad member.

Sydney continued its early season momentum with a bright start that produced a goal after just 90 seconds from Joel Chianese, the midfielder firing home with a clinical finish from the edge of the penalty area following good lead-up on the right flank from Hussein Akil.

With large chunks of the early exchanges played out in the midfield Sydney opened up the Mariners defence twice in quick succession with firstly Akil, and then Casey, unable to take advantage of some good openings.

The Mariners came to the fore in the latter stages of the half and were duly rewarded as Cahill unleashed a stunning strike into the top corner of the goal from 20 metres.

The Mariners commenced the second stanza in a similar vein to Sydney's opening to the match with half-time substitute Mitchell Mallia scoring with his first touch two minutes after the interval. Porter's cross was punched only half clear by Blues goalkeeper Nenad Vekic, with Mallia drilling the loose ball into the roof of the net from near the penalty spot.

Four minutes later the Mariners sensationally doubled their lead against a team that had yet to concede in its three previous National Youth League matches. Captain Panni Nikas ghosted in behind a static Sydney defence to score with an easy header from an Elrich cross, the Mariners captain continuing a marvelous scoring streak at same venue with the NSW Premier League champions Sutherland Sharks.

Buoyed by the goals the Mariners continued their momentum with a swerving free-kick from Porter causing difficulties for Vekic.

Increasing rain and a host of substitutions made for a somewhat disjointed second half with the visitors always looking capable of maintaining their advantage.

Sydney's afternoon perhaps summed up in the dying minutes as Kerem Bulut struck the crossbar when clear through on goal, and then Iain Ramsey having a goal disallowed having been ruled marginally offside.

Sydney FC 1 (Joel Chianese 2') Central Coast Mariners 3 (Lachlan Cahill 42', Mitchell Mallia 47', Panni Nikas 51')