Young Mariners feel the heat in Melbourne scorcher


Melbourne Victory has applied the blowtorch to the Central Coast Mariners, with a 4-1 win in scorching conditions in Melbourne?s northern suburbs.
With the temperature topping 35 degrees, and on an artificial surface adding at least an extra five degrees, the Mariners saw this as an opportunity to jump to the top of the National Youth League ladder, but were out of the blocks slowly in the stifling heat, Luka Dukic called upon to make a strong clearance after Melbourne skipper Aziz Behich made an impressive run into the box.
?Crazy conditions, but there were decisions made that had nothing to do with the heat or the surface. Balls turned over cheaply, players out of position, just things that, when we reflect back on it, players will realize they could have done a lot better,? said Mariners NYL Head Coach Tony Walmsley.
Ahmad Elrich shot wide on six minutes after good lead up work by David D?Apuzzo and Panny Nikas, while Robbie Kruse was similarly inaccurate at the other end.
Brady Smith went on a lovely run on 14 minutes, and found his way into the Melbourne penalty area, only to shoot over the bar while Andrew Redmayne was called into action for the first time 19 minutes in, when he tipped a fierce Nathan Elasi effort over the bar.
Elrich sent a 35 yard speculator wide of the target while Dylan Macallister flicked a long throw in by Luka Dukic into the safe hands of Mitchell Langerak as the Mariners continued to press, but unfortunately for the yellow and navy, it was at the other end where the scoreboard attendants were called into action.
Nathan Elasi unleashed a fierce drive that cannoned into Redmayne?s far post, and the Mariners defence was unable to clear, allowing the Victory starlet to finish from close range.
Langerak had to make another good save down low to deny Macallister as the half wound down, as the hosts took the single goal advantage into the break.
Robbie Kruse and Nick Ward both had chances as Melbourne came out fast following the resumption, but it was the Mariners who were able to draw a goal back.
Panny Nikas made a strong run into the box only to be brought down by Matthew Foschini, leaving Mr Laverdure with no other option other than to point to the spot.
Nikas stepped up, and although Langerak guessed the right way, he had no chance as the Mariners skipper powered home.
?Panny did what he does, great run into the box to earn the penalty, and then put it away, and that?s the spark you want to ignite everybody else, but it just didn?t happen.
?We had a very attacking lineup once we got to 1-all, we had three across the front and two guys sitting in an attacking midfield position. With that weight of numbers in the final third, you want to be doing a lot better than what we did.
?We seemed to be well set and gaining momentum. History shows we are quite good at the back end of games, and I was really confident we?d come home with it, but it went pear shaped from there on in,? said Walmsley.
Nikas could have had a second not long after too, as a dipping free kick from the right edge of the area sailed agonizingly over the bar.
After a valiant fight, the Mariners begun to wilt in the heat, former QPR midfielder Ward, in his first game back from injury, fed Aziz Behich, the Victory captain finding himself one on one with Redmayne, and although the Central Coast custodian got a hand to it, was unable to stop the hosts regaining the lead.
Ward was in the thick of it again as he slid a ball across the face of goal, and with no Mariners defenders able to clear, Elasi was able to tap home at the far post for his second.
And Elasi, a substitute in last night?s 4-nil Hyundai A-League loss to the Mariners, was able to make up for that disappointment by completing his hat trick on 84 minutes, again being put through by Ward to slot home one-on-one past Redmayne, and complete the rout.
?They?re a good side, and even though we were down 1-nil at half time, we thought combination wise, we?d done much better than they had. They counter attacked a couple of times from our technical errors, but we started the second half poorly, and we have to give them credit for that, they really took a hold of the game in that period.
?We?ve had a period where a lot of players have missed out, and we have players like (Matthew) Liddall, (Adam) Ormsby and (Mitchell) Mallia waiting on the sidelines dying for a game, so next week gives us a chance to give those guys an opportunity, and other players can contemplate what professional football is all about,? said Walmsley.
The Mariners? National Youth League side is next in action when it takes on Brisbane Roar next Saturday, 14 November at Ballymore Stadium. Kick off is at 3:15pm QST.
Match Details

Central Coast Mariners 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk), 2. Nathan SHERLOCK (17. David GULLO 46?), 3. David D?APUZZO, 5. Luka DUKIC, 6. Manny GIANNAROS, 7. Brendan GRIFFIN (8. Nick FITZGERALD 60?), 10. Panny NIKAS (c), 12. Shane HUKE (OA), 14. Brady SMITH, 18. Ahmad ELRICH (OA) (9. Gavin FORBES 60? (7. Brendan GRIFFIN 84?)), 19. Dylan MACALLISTER (OA).

Unused Subs
20. Nik MATIC (gk).
Yellow Cards D?Apuzzo 45?
Red Cards None
Goals Nikas 65? (pen)

Melbourne Victory
20. Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 2. Matthew FOSCHINI, 3. Evan BERGER (OA), 4. Nick WARD (OA), 5. Diogo FERRERIA, 6. Matthew THEODORE (14. Craig SWEENEY 62?), 7. Aziz BEHICH (c), 8. Stephen HATZIKOSTAS, 9. Robbie KRUSE (15. Luke PILKINGTON 55?), 10. Nathan ELASI, 11. Antonio LA VERDE (12. Tedros YABIO 62?).
Unused Subs 1. Sebastian MATTEI (gk).
Yellow Cards Hatzikostas 58?, Theodore 60?
Red Cards None
Goals Elasi 41?, 80?, 84?, Behich 77?