A first-half goal from teen Nicholas Fitzgerald was the difference as Brisbane Roar Youth went down 1-0 to the Central Coast Mariners at a wet Pluim Park on Saturday.
With a number of National Youth League regulars called up for Hyundai A-league duty, Brisbane Youth took to the field with four new players who had only joined the squad days earlier.
The Mariners took advantage of the Roar-s inexperience, pressuring the boys in orange from the outset and were denied a twelfth minute lead when Hyundai A-League squad member Michael Baird was deemed to be offside.
Roar Youth were relying on the exceptional play of their goalkeeper Matt Acton to keep them in the game, with the young shot stopper spoiling a number of great Central Coast chances.
However the constant pressure from the Mariners finally brought results for the home side in the 35th minute when Fitzgerald dispatched a pinpoint cross from Baird into the back of the net, giving the Mariners a 1-0 lead going into half time.
The second half saw a much improved performance from Brisbane as the side started to find some cohesion across the park.
Both sides stepped up their defensive work rate and it wasn-t until the 77th minute that the first real chance of the half fell to Mariners striker Max Glanville, who could only send his shot into the hands of a waiting Acton.
While Brisbane Youth pushed hard for an equaliser in the dying stages of the match, they were unable to break down a resilient Central Coast defence, the full time whistle giving the Mariners a 1-0 win.
Brisbane Roar Youth Head Coach John Sime was impressed with his side despite the result, believing they did well to perform considering the challenges they had to overcome this week.
“The boys really impressed me with how they played, we had to make a large number of changes to our line-up and our game plan, so for the side to play as well as they did it is very reassuring,” Sime said.
“Central Coast well and truly out played us in our last match, so for the boys to bounce back the way they have is what you like to see as a coach.
“I think the boys are really unfortunate that they didn-t at least take a point from the match, the final score doesn-t give justice to their performance.”
Sime singled out the outstanding performance of Daniel Bowles, stating that the young defender had put in his best game of the campaign so far.
“Daniel played incredibly well today, he was very impressive in defence and was what kept the backline in such great shape all match,” Sime said.
“He did well to fire the boys up in the second half and showed a lot of leadership for the younger guys in the side, which as a coach was great to see.”