Während hierzulande Schnee und Eisregen vielerorts für winterliche Verhältnisse sorgen und zuletzt etliche Fußballspiele ausfallen ließen, rollt am anderen Ende der Erde unter praller Sonne und bei hochsommerlichen Temperaturen der Ball. So kam es am Samstag in der australischen National Youth League in Canberra zum Duell zwischen dem Schlusslicht AIS (Australian Institute of Sports) und dem Tabellenführer Central Coast Mariners. Seit 2008 wird parallel zur landesweiten Profiliga A-League die NYL als Nachwuchs- und Reserverunde ausgetragen.
Derzeit sind zehn Team am Start. Neben den oben erwähnten Teams des Australian Institute of Sports und der Central Coast Mariners sind in der laufenden Saison Melbourne Victory, Melbourne Heart, Newcastle United Jets, Adelaide United, Bisbane Roar, Perth Glory, der Sydney FC und die Western Sydney Wanderers am Start. Gastgeber Australian Institute of Sports versuchte am Samstagnachmittag auf dem Rasen des AIS Athletics Track den ersten Sieg einzufahren. Bisher konnte nur ein mageres Pünktchen geholt werden. Beim Sydney FC reichte es am 16. Dezember 2012 immerhin zu einem 2:2…
Folgend ein von Glenn Dawson auf Englisch verfasster Spielbericht zum Duell der Nachwuchsteams AIS gegen CC Mariners:
In sweltering 33 degree heat, the Mariners made the four hour journey down the highway to take on the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) at the Athletics track in Canberra on Saturday afternoon. After enduring a horrific eight game losing streak, the boys from Canberra secured their first point of the season last weekend in a gallant effort against the youth team of Sydney FC and were determined from the outset to snatch their first victory for the year against league leaders Central Coast.
The AIS team began the more confident of the two teams with Joshua Barresi testing the keeper after just 3 minutes with a long range effort. Less than two minutes later, the AIS should have been on the scoreboard when a back pass to the keeper went horribly wrong and Todd Norris intercepted the ball inside the box, however with just the keeper to beat from 10 metres out, he duffed his shot straight into the chest of the Mariner’s keeper, David Bradasevic.
The pressure for Central Coast continued to mount, and were fortunate not to go a goal down in the 13th minute, when a free kick on the edge of the box for the AIS took a deflection on route to goal and rolled just past the post. Bright Appia was causing all sorts of problems for the CCM defense on the left hand flank with his blistering speed and incisive runs, unfortunately for him and his team, a hamstring injury forced him from the field in the 20th minute.
A slight reshuffle to the line up with Dylan Pickert coming on to replace the injured Appia provided almost instant success. A Liam Rose cross from the right somehow eluded all players except for Barresi, whose low shot at goal took a deflection from a Mariners defender and went past the keeper who was diving in the opposite direction. The goal was due reward for the young AIS side who had toiled hard both in defense and attack. Unfortunately for the home side it seemed to wake up the visitors who realized they had a fight on their hands.
Ten minutes later in the 33rd minute, it was the Mariners turn to hit back, when a perfectly weighted cross from the sideline from number 14 Jordan Crighton beat all the defenders and the AIS custodian, and fell invitingly at the feet of Louis Bozanic who tapped the ball into the open goal from the 6 yard box to level the scores up at 1-1.
Central Coast continued to attack and had several chances to head to the sheds at the half time break leading. In the 43rd minute a goal mouth scramble left Dillon Vorster with an opportunity to shoot, but under pressure his shot from 5 metres out hit the side netting. In time added on, Kieren Paull made a run down the left hand touchline and crossed into Hayden Morton who was following through on the inside. Although an AIS body weakened Morton’s shot, Jordan Thurtell in goals for the AIS still had to make a fine diving save to prevent it going in.
1-1 at halftime was a fair indication of how play had unfolded in the first half. Both teams had a few golden opportunities to pull ahead but some good goalkeeping from the CCM number 1 and desperate defending from the AIS back four kept the scores tied.
A great chance for the AIS presented itself shortly after the break when they stole the ball from the Mariners 30 metres out from goal. A quick passed released Alexander Gersbach onto goal and with just the keeper to beat missed from the penalty spot. AIS maintained the tempo with Baressi beating several defenders on a 30 metre dash however the finish was lacking and the shot went wide of the right hand post.
It took until the 58th minute for the first yellow card, when the referee finally had enough of the constant swearing and backchat from the Mariners players. This was followed just 30 seconds later by another one for a reckless challenge by Mariner captain Nikola Stanojevic. Three substitutions in five minutes changed the tempo of the match, however it was Central Coast who adapted the quickest. Seeking their eight win of the season, the Mariner’s adopted a more attacking style of play and almost hit the lead in the 74th minute but for a fine diving save from Thurtell from a Patrick Dixon shot outside the box.
Three minutes later, the Mariners finally hit the front after Thurtell spilled the ball from a weak shot and was slow to react to the fumble. Daniel Bragg however was on the spot to clean up the spoils and smashed the ball into the back of the net from 10 metres out much to his, and his teammates joy.
The AIS were not finished with though, and with a little more could have shared the points when from a free kick 35 metres out, the Mariner’s Morton tried to head the ball away, however headed straight into the crossbar. Luckily for him, it bounced away, rather than down across the line. With just five minutes to go, another opportunity presented itself for Norris, who after a long run put his shot wide of the post under good pressure from the Mariner’s keeper.
Deep into injury time, Steve Whyte made a run along the AIS baseline, bamboozling defenders as he went past with ease and was allowed to cut back a ball to the waiting Dixon who slid the ball past a desperate Thurtell to round off a 3-1 win for the guests and keep the AIS winless after 10 rounds. The small crowd of 40 people witnessed a great game in hot conditions, and one that the AIS were unlucky not to get something out of. The Central Coast Mariners still sit on top of the table with an away trip to Western Sydney to take on second-last placed team The Wanderers, while the AIS face the daunting 6 hour plane ride across the country to Perth to take on the Glory in the new year, still chasing their first win for the season and for new coach Tony Vidmar.
Fotos: Glenn Dawson