Victory too good for Mariners
by Tomasz Ng:
National Youth League 2013/14, Round 15
3:00pm, Sunday 9 February – Lakeside Stadium, South Melbourne
Melbourne Victory 5 (Cristaldo 19’, 32’, 39’, Makarounas 50’, 90+2’)
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Bingham 11’, 30’)
A hat trick for Christopher Cristaldo helped Melbourne Victory come from behind twice to defeat Central Coast Mariners 5-2 at Lakeside Stadium.
Josh Bingham gave the visitors the lead on two occasion in the first half, but Cristaldo replied with his hat trick to ensure that Victory were in the ascendancy at the break.
Jesse Makarounas then grabbed a brace of his own in the second half as the Victory eventually ran out comfortable winners over the league’s bottom side.
Much to the delight of players, coaches and spectators, a cool change had brought the temperatures down from 41 degrees to about 26 by kickoff.
That allowed the match began at breakneck pace, with both sides having early chances of their own.
Cristaldo had the first effort on goal in the sixth minute, skying a simple finish over the bar after Connor Pain cut back from the byline on the left flank.
He was to pay for the miss five minutes later, when Bingham caressed the ball into the back of the net from the edge of the area after being set up by Dominic Ferguson.
The Mariners were not looking like a side sat at the bottom of the table as they strode forward with confidence, causing Victory’s defence some problems.
But one of the home side’s biggest strengths has been their counter attacking ability and they equalised from a quick break in the 19th minute.
Connor Pain once again had the beating of his fullback, and squared a ball to Cristaldo who paused before firing a shot over Tonu Liiband’s head and into the goal.
Victory began to settle into the game following the goal, and went close when Makarounas curled an effort just past the top corner from the edge of the area.
Their good work was then undone on the half hour, when Tom Slater burst into the box and was nudged by Luc Jeggo, forcing referee Harley Natis to point to the spot.
Bingham stepped up to take the penalty and slotted it cooly past Keegan Coulter who dived the wrong way.
Though once again the Mariners lead didn’t last very long, and a little under two minutes later Cristaldo grabbed his second of the afternoon after Francesco Stella had played him in on goal.
The diminutive forward was left with the simple task of passing the ball into the back of the net to equalise for the hosts.
Stella then almost got himself on the scoresheet after Luc Jeggo squared a ball back to him outside the box, but his wicked curling shot didn’t bend soon enough and went wide.
Then tragedy struck for the visitors five minutes later when a poor backpass from Liam Odell caused Liiband problems in controlling the football.
Cristaldo read the situation well and stole the ball from the keeper as he tried to bring it down, and stroked it home into the open goal.
Odell made ammends for his error a few minutes later, when Liiband saved a stinging effort from Pain, which was still heading over the line until the defender hacked it clear.
That was followed by the half time break, but came but the Mariners were unable to regroup and went further behind in the 50th minute.
Pain was once again the architect, beating Jacob Esposito and laying the ball off for Makarounas who curled his effort into the bottom corner of the net.
With the corresponding fixture earlier in the season ending 4-3 to Victory, Glen Trifiro had a chance to make the scoreline identical five minutes later.
After finding himself in a good position inside the box, he skies his shot high and wide, killing all hope of getting back into the contest for the visitors.
Victory had plenty of chances from then on to further extend their lead, and Pain had a golden chance to get himself a goal but after being freed by Anthony Proia, the winger elected to shoot with his weaker right foot when he had time to open his body and take a left footed shot.
Substitute Anthony Duzel then almost struck a stunning goal, after volleying from 25 yards but Liiband was at full stretch to tip the ball round the post.
From the corner, the ball wasn’t adequately cleared and after Jason Geria stormed into the box to set up Damien Miskulin, the substitute skied a shot over the bar from just 8 yards.
Proia also had two identical chances of his own, having looked lively since his introduction.
He managed to beat defenders on his way towards the six yard box on both occasions, but somehow failed to hit the target from a tight angle.
When a similar opportunity arose the third time, he finally hit the target, but Liiband only succeeded in spilling the ball into the path of Makarounas who gladly accepted the tap in.
It was a poor finish to the game by the Mariners who were completely outrun in the second half and they remain at the foot of the table, three points adrift of Perth Glory.
Crowd: ~ 50
1. Keegan Coulter [GK], 3. Milos Ridesic, 4. James Karvelis (13. Damien Miskulin +60’), 5. Dylan Murnane, 6. Jordan Brown, 7. Christopher Cristaldo (14. Anthony Proia +60’), 8. Luc Jeggo, 9. Jesse Makarounas, 11. Connor Pain, 15. Jason Geria, 18. Francesco Stella (12. Anthony Duzel +60’)
Unused Substitutes: 20. Gian Tapia [GK]
Yellow Cards: Proia
Red Cards: Nil
Central Coast Mariners:
12. Tonu Liiband [GK], 4. Matt Sim, 5. Liam Odell (2. Jacob Esposito +46’), 6. Jesse Curran, 7. Dillon Vorster (14. Steve Whyte +57’), 8. Glen Trifiro, 9. Patrick Dixon, 10. Dominic Ferguson, 11. Josh Bingham, 13. Hayden Morton, 15. Tom Slater (16. Daniel McFarlane +60’)
Unused Substitutes: 1. Daniel Bradasevic [GK]
Yellow Cards: Bingham
Red Cards: Nil
Referee: Harley Natis
Assistants: Jack Morgan, Adam Bavcar, Greg Gontscharow
Pitch Rating: 8/10
Game Rating: 8/10
Ones to watch: Connor Pain, Jordan Brown (MVC), Josh Bingham (CCM)
By Tomasz Ng