Sydney FC youth win 7-goal thriller in the ‘gong

By Corinthian (Paul Green):

Foxtel National Youth League – Round 7
2:30pm, Sunday 8 December, 2013 – WIN Stadium, Wollongong

Sydney FC 4
(Marc Warren 11′, Anthony Tomelic 55′, Corey Gameiro 70′ pen, 86′)
Melbourne Heart FC 3
(Mate Dugandzic 9′ pen, 90’+1, Marcus Schroen 43′)

A stronger second-half and some key substitutions enabled Steve Corica’s Sydney FC Youth team to come back from 2-1 down at half-time to eventually defeat Melbourne Heart at WIN Stadium in Wollongong on Sunday afternoon, in sunny, yet breezy conditions on the South Coast.

Heart had clearly looked the better side in the first-half and were deserving of their half-time lead, but the Melbourne visitors lost their way a little after the break to concede three times before snatching a late goal to make the score more interesting.

Fielding four over-age players, as against two for Sydney FC, Heart looked the part and seemed to have the game in a vice-like grip until Steve Corica rang the changes at half-time and then soon afterwards.

He had already been forced to replace left-back Marc Warren, four minutes before the break, after the senior player had struggled to make an impact on his return to action after an enforced lay-off.

“Marc’s not quite ready yet, he’s about two weeks off still I think and we didn’t want to make things worse by leaving him on, once we knew he was struggling for full fitness.

Warren was the guilty party, to some extent, when Heart’s lively wingman, Mate Dugandzic, darted past him down the right and into the penalty area.

Warren was beaten for speed and after his man set sail for goal a little nudge sent the 24 year old Melbourne Knights’ product tumbling.

Referee Lachlan Daniel did hesitate for a moment, but acted firmly, perhaps after quickly reviewing the incident in his mind, and soon pointed to the spot.

Dugandzic stepped up and buried his penalty-kick to have his side a goal up after only nine minutes.

But when Sydney FC won a free-kick on the left, just outside the area, two minutes later, the ball floated high to the far post by Josh

Macdonald was expertly headed past former Perth Glory goalkeeper, Tando Velaphi to level the scores almost immediately.

But Heart still made most of the running and were playing some good football, though referee Daniel had to step in a number of times to sanction some poor tackles as well, as some unruly back-chat.

Heart made it 2-1 in the 43rd when their will-o’-the-wisp midfielder, Marcus Schroen, chased a ball through from deep on the right and lifted the ball beyond the advancing keeper, Tristan Prendergast, finding the net off the inside of the left-hand upright.

The tone was set for a second-half which Heart may well have expected to control, having already led twice.

Instead, Corica threw on Corey Gameiro, instead of Macdonald, with almost instant results.

Gameiro and 54th minute substitute Anthony Tomelic ran the show after their introduction and it was soon apparent that the pair would make all the difference in the second half.

Heart, however, might have extended their lead by the 51st as Schroen went one on one with the keeper after a quick ball played in behind the Sydney defence.

Schroen waltzed around the keeper and his stride was broken by a challenge which he chose to ride, before his run quickly petered out.

Had he fallen it’s hard to see a second penalty appeal being denied.

So Sydney were let off and in the 55th managed to draw level a second time.

Tomelic spotted a gap, top-left corner, as he gained possession following some exchange of passes outside the box among several Sydney players.

Tomelic looked up and sent a looping shot from just inside the area on the right that snuggled in the roof of Velaphi’s net; it had looked a top-notch strike indeed.

That made it 2-2 and before long it was 3-2.

Heart’s captain Ross Archibald clattered into Gameiro in the 70th and referee Daniel pointed to the spot for a second time in the match.

Gameiro himself converted after a fancy, deceiving run-up to send Velaphi the wrong way, before slotting the ball away crisply, low to the keeper’s left.

After a free-kick from the left in the 86th, from the left by Christian Gonzalez, Gameiro appeared to have all the time in the world to head home from the far post and make it 4-2.

Not quite game over, as Heart pulled one back late through Dugandzic again, as stoppage time began to tick away. He simply got in behind the defence as he had done earlier when winning a penalty and causing all kinds of problems for Sydney FC down either flank.

Steve Corica agreed that his defence is still giving away soft goals and must improve, but he was pleased otherwise.

“They were on top in the first half, but we picked up in the second and I think both our substitutes made all the difference.

“You know this boy is a local (Gameiro), I’m not sure which club he comes from, but this is his home town. [Ed. Kemblawarra FC]

“We gave them two goals early in the game, but the boys fought back well and we were clearly the better side in the second-half.

“We probably should have scored more in the first half, we hit the post and the ball was cleared. When they hit the post it was a goal,” he observed.

Sydney FC remain leaders of the National Youth League, but it was their second narrow win in two weeks and the number of goals being conceded every week is mounting steadily.

Melbourne Heart coach, Joe Palatsides, remembered from his days in the old NSL, with South Melbourne, has been away from Australia for almost 20 years, he told Back-of-the-Net, post-match.

“We played four over-age players; we usually only use one, but as the team was in town for the A League game last night we decided to take the opportunity to give these players a run-out.

“We fell away in the second-half, unfortunately, but we should have been further ahead before Sydney came back at us. They took their goals well, but I think we deserved something from the match and it was a pleasing performance, except with the way we let in some of the late goals.

Match details:

Crowd: approx. 200

Sydney FC: Tristan Prendergast; Jacob Tratt (c), Aaron Calver, Themba Muata-Marlow, Marc Warren (OA) (Christian Gonzalez +41′); Hagi Gligor, Dylan Caton, Max Burgess (Anthony Tomelic +54′), Joshua Macdonald (Corey Gameiro +46′), Alec Urosevski, Mitchell Mallia (OA)
Sub not used: Luke Babic (rgk)

Coach: Steve Corica

Melbourne Heart FC: Tando Velaphi (gk)(OA); Jeremy Walker, Ross Archibald (c), David Vrankovic, Benjamin Garuccio (Ersin Kaya +60′); Sam Mitchinson (OA), Nick Kalmar (OA) (Philip Petreski +60′), Paulo Retre, Mate Dugandzic (OA); Stefan Mauk, Marcus Schroen (Jonathan Bounas +60′)
Sub not used: Marko Stevanja (rgk)

Coach: Joe Palatsides

Yellow Cards (both):
Mate Dugandzic (MH) 8, Benjamin Garuccio (MH) 19, Paolo Retre (MH) 28, Aaron Calver (SFC) 38, Corey Gameiro (SFC) 62, Ross Archibald (MH) 68, Sam Mitchinson (MH)75, Alec Urosevski (SFC)76

Points and ratings

Referee: Lachlan Daniel 7/10
Assistants: James Tesoriero and Daniel Stack; Fourth Official: Chris Young

Pitch: 9/10
Game 8/10

Player points:
3 Corey Gameiro (SFC)
2 Mate Dugandzic (MH)
1 Anthony Tomelic (SFC)

By Corinthian (Paul Green)