Wanderers have convincing win in Youth League

By Corinthian (Paul Green):
Foxtel National Youth League – Version 2 – 2015/2016 – Round 2
10.30am, Sunday 15th November 2015 – Marconi Stadium

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 (Lachlan Scott 2′, Mario Shabow 28′, Tariq Maia 58′)
Central Coast Mariners FC 2 (Trent Buhagiar 29′, Adam Berry 50′)

Western Sydney Wanderers’ National Youth League team has struggled for consistency in recent seasons, largely due to players being called upon for A League duty and experiencing an overall lack of a settled squad, so Sunday’s convincing win over Central Coast Mariners, 3-1, was a step in the right direction.

Played in the morning, several hours ahead of the club’s Women’s League match against Melbourne Victory, which kicked off at 3pm, the Youth League game attracted a very good crowd of around 350 at Marconi Stadium to see a side that had a lot to prove in an abbreviated NYL campaign.

Now split into two regional divisions, the NYL will be over a mere ten rounds this season and with the inclusion of only the NSW teams and the FFA Centre of Excellence, there will be a bye each week and the five teams competing will only play a total of eight games, four home and four away.

It’s mainly about development anyway, so honours are less seriously a concern, though bragging rights are always uppermost in the minds of both teams’ sets of supporters and the coaching staff.

Here we had Wanderers’ coach, Trevor Morgan, facing Central Coast Mariners’ man of many hats, Joe Haywood, across on the bench.

Haywood and his fellow coaches had masterminded North Shore Mariners’ all conquering State League 1 campaign during the winter, which saw the Northbridge-based club promoted thanks to some outstanding results across all three grades.

They also won their Grand Final convincingly in a match played at Sydney United Sports Centre.

Haywood will not only be in charge of this NYL side until mid January, but will have a big say in the Youth team that competes in NPL2 next winter in NSW, along with his North Shore Mariners’ side.

Just how that’s going to work remains to be seen.

Wayne O’Sullivan, one of the key members of the coaching staff at the development level, along with Haywood and others, still has Western NSW Mariners, based out at Bathurst and Dubbo, to take care of as well as the other two Mariners’ outfits.

That team will continue to play in the NSW winter third tier, now re-badged as NPL3.

All that aside, Haywood and his team had other concerns here.

They’d lost their opening game at Tuggerah 2-1 to Sydney FC and were looking here to improve on that showing.

But even with former Wanderers’ goalkeeper, Thomas Heward-Belle, in their line-up, they were up against it here.

Some of the Central Coast’s best players from last season’s NPL2 team, which did well until some of their more promising players were recalled by the Mariners, were on show here, including Lachlan Wales, Trent Buhagiar and Brian Jamba, so the Wanderers were facing a talented side.

The Wanderers went into the game with high hopes, but no decent home record to back that up, so when they hit the front at the second-minute mark things were looking a lot better than many long- suffering fans might have anticipated.

The hosts had begun the season with a  3-3 draw with Newcastle Jets to start their campaign and this was only Round 2, so they appear to be in better shape than they were last term.

A good run down the left by A League aspirant, Golgol Nebrahtu, saw the skinny winger send over a low cross that Heward-Belle could barely get a hand to.

Handily placed, up popped Lachlan Scott to tap the loose ball into the Mariners’ net.

After a period of dominance that led to at least half a dozen corners, the Wanderers went further ahead in the 28th minute, Marlo Shabow drilling home from close-range after some excellent lead-up trickery from Scott, out wide on the right, who slipped the ball across perfectly for his attacking team mate.

But Wanderers’ fans groaned when the Mariners came back to make it 2-1 just two minutes later.

Some obvious complacency and ball-watching allowed Lachlan Wales, a dynamo on the flank as always, to find Buhagiar at the near-post and the accomplished striker finished clinically.

Although the Wanderers regained the initiative during the remainder of the first-half, there was one scare in the form of a near-post header from Joshua Forbes, off a Reece Papadimitrios free-kick, out on the right, that went agonisingly close to beating Wanderers’ keeper, Nicholas Suman.

Corners a’plenty to the Wanderers, however, saw them also go close a number of times, with Josh Macdonald and Scott both denied by the more settled Mariners’ keeper, who’d begun the game a little shakily.

The second half saw the Mariners making more of a game of it and it was the turn of the Wanderers’ keeper to calm his fans’ nerves in the 47th, when saving well from Buhagiar, off another Papadimitrios pass.

A powerful shot from distance by Mariners’  Adam Berry that rocked the crossbar and then dropped over the line was awarded as a goal by referee, Tim Danaskos, on a signal from his assistant referee, in the 50th minute, so it was then all square at 2-2 .

The Wanderers regrouped and launched another series of attacks and before long they’d regained control and in turn, the lead.

Half-time substitute, Liam Youlley, slid the ball through. for Scott to fire at goal and when keeper, Heward-Belle ,spilled the chance, Tariq Maia was well placed to pick up the crumbs and make it 3-2.

The  game continued to be played competitively, with the Wanderers on top for the most part, save from a few Central Coast raids that were well dealt with by an efficient Wanderers’ defence.

Match details

Crowd:   Approx 350

Western Sydney Wanderers FC:  1. Nicholas SUMAN (gk); 3 Keanu BACCUS, 4 Daniel ALESSI (c), 5 Mathieu CORDIER, 6 Cameron DEVLIN; 7 Joshua MACDONALD (13 Kyle CIMENTI 64), 10 Tariq MAIA, 8 Mario SHABOW (14 Joshua GASPARI 64), 2 Lachlan ROBERTS; 9 Lachlan SCOTT, 11 Golgol NEBRAHTU (12 Liam YOULLEY 46)
Sub Not Used: 16 Matthew SYMES(rgk)

Yellow cards: Joshua Macdonald 22, Daniel Alessi 36, Keanu Baccus 48, 90+2); Red cards: Keanu Baccus 90+2
Coach: Trevor Morgan

Central Coast Mariners FC: 1. Thomas HEWARD-BELLE (gk); 2 Brian JAMBA, 5 Brandon LE MAY (14 Daniel MCFARLANE 74), 4 Mark DUNCAN, 3 Joshua FORBES (13 Steve WHYTE 85); Adam BERRY (12 Marley PETERSON 85), 6 Reece PAPADIMITRIOS (c), 10 Ryan PETERSON, 7 Lachlan WALES, 9 Trent BUHAGIAR, 11 Jake ADELSON
Sub not used: 20 Kane RUNGE (rgk)

Yellow cards:  Reece Papadimitrios 56,  Trent Buhagiar 76; Red Cards: Nil
Coach: Joe Haywood

Referee: Tim Danaskos 8/10
Assistants: Matthew McCorist and Patrick Teleki
Fourth Official: Alex Merkel

Game: 7/10
Pitch: 6/10

Players noted: Mario Shabow (WSW), Joshua MacDonald (WSW), Daniel Alessi (WSW), Brian Jamba (CCM), 8 Adam Berry (CCM), Ryan Peterson (CCM)

By Corinthian (Paul Green)