Central Coast Mariners have solidified their position at the top of the National Youth League table with a comprehensive 5-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers at Cook Park on Saturday.
With temperatures nudging 40 degrees, both teams started patiently. However, once the game inevitably started to open up it was the Mariners who controlled the match for large portions and were better able to take their chances.
After 12 minutes the Mariners opened the scoring.
Brad McDonald made an incisive run down the left touch line and cut the ball back into the box. The pass found Daniel Bragg whose sweetly-hit drive rifled past Jerrard Tyson in the Wanderers goal.
The Wanderers nearly had their equaliser on 29 minutes when a neat turn on the edge of the box by Mark Cindric resulted in a shot that drifted just over the cross bar.
Moments later they had another chance. A looping cross from Jayden Koulizakis found Alastair Quinn who was only denied by a fine double save from Mariners keeper Justin Pasfield.
Despite the Wanderers having more chances, it was the Mariners who doubled their advantage on 34 minutes.
A cleverly chipped through-ball from Adriano Pellegrino failed to be dealt with by the Wanderers' defence and Anthony Caceres was on hand to deftly lob the ball over the advancing keeper for the Mariners' second.
In the closing moments of the first half the Wanderers went keenly in search of a goal. However Pasfield was again on hand to deny Jake McGing and moments later Mark Cindric with a pair of fine saves.
Two minutes into the second half and the Mariners had their third. A loose pass coming out of defence by the Wanderers was pounced on by the Mariners and two quick passes found McDonald who curled the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net.
Mariners got their fourth with 20 minutes remaining. Mitchell Duke sprung the offside trap, running onto a well-weighted through-ball before calmly putting the ball past the keeper.
With seven minutes to go, the Wanderers had their best chance to open their account when the ball fell to Daniel Barac on the penalty spot. However it was not to be as his shot hammered into the post and the follow up from Mark Cindric was hit straight at the keeper.
With three minutes to go Duke got his second and the Mariners' fifth with a carbon-copy of his first goal to round out the visitors' dominant display.
Central Coast Mariners: 5 (Daniel Bragg 12, Anthony Caceres 34, Brad McDonald 47, Mitchell Duke 70, 78)
Western Sydney Wanderers: 0
Western Sydney Wanderers: 1. Jerrard Tyson (20. Thomas Manos 45), 2. Jacob Williams, 3. Zachary Williams, 4. James Baldacchino, 5. Jayden Koulizakis (13. Jaushua Sotiro 59), 6. Stepjan Paric, 7. Alastair Quinn (12. Brian Jamba 59), 8. Jake McGing, 9. Mark Cindric, 10. Yianni Perkatis, 11. Daniel Barac.
Central Coast Mariners: 1 Justin Pasfield, 3. Michael Neill, 4. Kieren Paull (2. Nikola Stanojevic 63), 5. Hayden Morton, 6. Daniel Bragg, 7. Adam Jenner, 8. Adriano Pellegrino, 10. Tomislav Cirjak (12. Patrick Dixon 63), 15. Brad McDonald (11. Louis Bozanic 56), 17. Anthony Caceres, 19. Mitchell Duke. (20. Daniel Sadaka )