Sydney FC’s Foxtel National Youth League squad travelled up the freeway to take on the Central Coast Mariners for the final round of the Foxtel National League competition at the Central Coast Mariners Centre of Excellence at Tuggerah, on Sunday.
They faced a tough test as the Mariners named four A-League players in their starting line-up with Brent Griffiths, Glen Trifiro, Mat Sim and Travis Major all playing a part in the match and it was Major that got the Mariners off to a great start when he scored on the counter attack inside the opening minute to have Sydney FC on the back foot.
Two good chances fell to Sydney FC to equalise as Jordan Tsekenis and George Blackwood both missed prime opportunities following excellent work by James Andrew on the right flank for the Sky Blues.
Major then struck again in 36th minute to stretch the margin to 2-0 with a goal against the run of play.
Lifted by conceding, Tsekenis almost pulled one back in the final minute of the half when he was through but his shot went straight into the arms of the keeper and Sydney FC trailed 2-0 at the break.
Sydney had the perfect start at the resumption of the second half when substitute Charles Lokoli-Ngoy burst down the left and laid on a delightful ball for Andrew to slide inside the post and the score to halve the deficit after 46 minutes.
The joy was short lived, as on 55 minutes Matt Sims popped up unmarked on the far post to head in a third for the Mariners and extend their lead to 3-1.
The Central Coast Mariners were reduced to 10 men just two minutes later when Brent Griffiths hand balled in the penalty area as the last man in defence. James Andrew stepped up and coolly tucked away the spot kick to claim his brace and Sydney were back in it at 3-2 at the 57th minute mark.
There was high drama in the next 10 minutes as the Young Sky Blues sensed they could get something from the match, as storm clouds and thunder started to roll in over the horizon.
The Sky Blues relentlessly kept pushing forward searching for a goal and it seemed would come when striker George Blackwood was brought down in the penalty area after 65 minutes as the rain started to pelt down.
Blackwood stepped up to take the kick only to see his effort smash against the cross bar and bounce to safety as the Mariners cleared their lines.
A crack of lightning and thunder was too close for comfort and the officials stopped the match after 67 minutes on the clock and called the players off the pitch due to player welfare and safety concerns.
The situation was reassessed after 10 minutes and with the weather radar showing there was worse to come, the match was abandoned in the 67th minute.
With the match abandoned the 3-2 score line stands as Sydney FC’s Foxtel National Youth League finished the season in 4th position on the ladder with Melbourne City NYL taking out the title.
Sydney FC 2 (James Andrew 46’ / 57’) vs CCM 3 (Travis Major 1’ / 36’; Matt Sim 55’) – MATCH ABANDONED DUE TO LIGHTNING
SYDNEY FC LINE UP – MATT SYMES (LUKE BABIC 46’); NICOLA KULESKI; JACOB TRATT; THEMBA MUATA-MARLOW; CRISTIAN GONZALEZ; HAGI GLIGOR; ANTHONY TOMELIC; MAX BURGESS (DANIEL ARAUJO 64’); JAMES ANDREW; GEORGE BLACKWOOD; JORDAN TSEKENIS (CHARLES LOKOLINGOY 46’)
SUBS NOT USED – LIAM MCGING
Sydney FC’s next home game is against Brisbane Roar on Sunday 15th March at Allianz Stadium (kick off 5pm). Purchase tickets today or become a Member and ensure you don’t miss a moment of Hyundai A-League action by heading to www.ticketek.com.au/sydneyfc