Central Coast Mariners have returned to the National Youth League winners' list after defeating the Australian Institute of Sport 2-1 at Mudgee on Sunday.
Although the Mariners will take the competition points, the AIS were deserving of at least a draw after their spirited effort and numerous missed chances.
The Canberra-based team came fast out of the blocks at Glen Willow Regional Sports Stadium and had two great chances to score in the first five minutes.
Both sides soon settled into their rhythms until a free kick was awarded to the Mariners on 16 minutes.
From just outside the 18-yard box, Mariners midfielder Daniel Bragg chipped left and over the wall to net the first goal.
However, the Mariners then appeared to be in cruise control for the rest of the half and it was the AIS who had the last laugh.
As half-time approached, the AIS put together some great passages of play. This resulted in a successful string of passes around the Mariners defence and striker Marc Marino put the finishing touches on an equaliser for the Canberra side.
But it only took less than a minute into the second half before the Mariners had taken the lead again.
This time the Mariners' own passage of passes led to the quick Louis Bozanic slotting a goal.
The chances were limited from both sides for the majority of the second half as both defences tightened and attacks became weary.
A last-ditch effort from the AIS in injury time almost caught Central Coast napping but again it would be the story of the day with more missed opportunities.
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Daniel Bragg 17, Louis Bozanic 46)
Australian Institute of Sport 1 (Marc Marino 43)
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Daniel Sadaka (GK), 2. Nikola Stanojevic (c) (Yellow), 3. Michael Neill (Yellow), 4. Kieren Paull, , 5. Hayden Morton, 6. Daniel Bragg, 7. Adam Jenner, 9. Aaron Peterson (16. Joshua Forbes) 11. Louis Bozanic (Yellow) (10. Tomislav Cirjak), 12. Patrick Dixon, 14. Jordan Crighton (8. Dillon Vorster), 20. David Bradasevic (GK).
Australian Institute of Sport: 1. Jordan Thurtell (gk), 2. Darcy Madden, 5. Matthew Schmidt (12. Mark Ochieng), 6. Matthew Ntoumenopulos (10. Dylan Smith), 7. Steve Kuzmanovski, 8. Joshua Barresi (17. Anthony Kalik), 11. Marc Marino, 16. Jordan Pudler, 18. Alexander Gersbach, 23. Rocca Pizzata, 23. George Timotheou, 30. Lucas Spinella (gk).