Sydney FC’s youth league side has continued its undefeated start to the season with a late winner from Kerim Bulut earning the Sky Blues a 2-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners this-afternoon at the Sydney Football Stadium.
Sydney FC-s youth league side has continued its undefeated start to the season with a late winner from Kerim Bulut earning the Sky Blues a 2-1 win over the Central Coast Mariners this-afternoon at the Sydney Football Stadium.
The Mariners took the lead during an open, lively first-half, but Brendan Gan was on hand to rifle the ball home from close range to equalise after 52 minutes.
Despite that, the Mariners looked on track to come away with at least a point against the league leaders, until 16-year-old replacement player Bulut bobbed up in the box to steal the winner and extend the home side-s winning streak to five on the trot.
Sydney started the match confidently, dominating the midfield despite the presence of Andre Gumprecht and Greg Owens in the Mariners eleven.
It was an open, carefree first half where both sides enjoyed a host of clear-cut chances inside the opposition-s 18 yard box.
Sydney controlled the early exchanges, putting constant pressure on the Mariners- back-four.
Strikers, Chris Payne and Sean Rooney had early chances, before Robbie Mileski made space for himself only to see his shot cleared off the line by Steven Tibbetts.
Rooney ghosted into the box soon after, but was dispossessed by Mariners- right back Laurence Braude after dwelling on the ball for one touch too many.
Having survived the opening barrage, the Mariners started to press forward themselves. Right winger Brady Smith looked explosive, and he began the Mariners- run of chances by connecting with Gumprecht-s 20 meter diagonal ball and firing a snap shot that went just over the bar.
The open half ended with a furious run of chances in the final ten minutes. The Mariners were lucky to escape when Rooney-s cross was deflected by a Mariner on the goal line, but somehow stayed out.
Central Coast then marched straight down the other end and made Sydney pay by taking a surprise lead. Gumprecht unleashed left winger Scott Wright, who skipped past Zach Cairncross and fizzed a brilliant centre across the face of goal, where Smith was rewarded for his fine first half with a well taken headed finish at the far post.
Sydney could have ended the half on a high, but was thwarted by one-time Sydney stopper Matthew Nash.
Chris Payne-s through-ball and Rhyan Grant-s off-the-ball movement unlocked the Mariners defence, but Nash stood firm and parried away right-back Grant-s one-on-one chance.
While the second half lacked the energy of the first it was similarly open. Sydney tied the contest at one-a-piece when Chris Triantis- 52nd minute free-kick to the far post wasn-t dealt with by a handful of Mariners defenders – Payne-s attempted strike ricocheted to the back post where Gan was never going to miss.
As both sides probed for a winner, Chris Payne enjoyed four good opportunities for Sydney in the space of a few minutes.
Finding himself with space in midfield, the 18-year-old had a shot saved smartly by Nash, and ten minutes later was shut down by centre-back Nathan Sherlock, who scrambled well throughout the contest.
Sydney threatened down the right throughout the contest, with Rhyan Grant and Kofi Danning looking sharp all match, and it was no surprise that the winner came through Danning getting in behind the Mariners- defence yet again.
With the ball trickling dead, the winger showed great desperation to hook it back in-field, where Bulut was on hand to put the ball past Nash and celebrate his second goal for the club.
Danning, who showed great pace all afternoon, was ecstatic with the last-gasp effort.
“I loved it, a few fans were getting up me, and I thought come on push yourself. I got an opportunity, saw Bulut there and he finished it off,” he beamed after the match.
The win was the side-s second chance to play in front a healthy following at the SFS. “It-s a great experience for me. I have never done anything like this so this is amazing for me.”
Sydney FC 2 (Brendan Gan 52-, Kerim Bulut 89-)
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Brady Smith 37-)
Sydney FC: 20.Vedran JANJETOVIC (gk), 2. Ryan GRANT, 3. Marc WARREN (8. Anthony MUSUMECI 61-), 4. Chris TRIANTIS, 6. Chris PAYNE, 7. Robbie MILESKI (5. Jared LUM 60-),, 9. Sean ROONEY (15. Kerim BULUT 61-), 10.Zach CAIRNCROSS, 11. Kofi DANNING,12. Ibrahim HAYDAR, 14.Brendan GAN .
Substitutes not used: nil.
Yellow Cards: Zach Cairncross 73-.
Red Cards: nil.
Goals: Gan 52′, Bulut 89′.
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Matthew NASH (gk), 2. Steve TIBBETS, 5. Nathan SHERLOCK, 6. Andre GUMPRECHT, 7. Matthew LEWIS, 9. Brady SMITH, 11. Darko VIDOVIC (8. Ty OWENS 62-), 12. Scott WRIGHT, 13. Laurence BRAUDE, 15. Greg OWENS (10. Glen TRIFIRO 62-), 21. Andrea MERENDA (4. Sean MITCHELL 61-)..
Substitutes not used: nil.
Yellow Cards: nil.
Red Cards: nil.
Goals: Smith 37′.
Referee: Gary Vandeburgt.