*Header photo by Jaime Castaneda (@jamcas50)
A ten-man Sydney FC went down 3-0 to Central Coast Mariners in Round 8 of the Foxtel Youth League on Saturday night at Lambert Park.
With the kick off delayed by thirty minutes due to localised lightening, it was Sydney FC that started the brightest as they dominated the opening twenty five minutes, as the Mariners rarely ventured out of their half thanks to applied pressure from the Sky Blues with possession football shifting their opposition across the park.
Sydney FC should have taken the lead at the 13 minutes in when their good play was rewarded as Cameron Devlin was brought down in the penalty area after some clever build up play.
Charles Lokoli-Ngoy stepped up for the spot kick, however his low effort was well saved by the Central Coast custodian Joe Gauci.
With 27 minutes on the clock a long ball clearance by the Mariners defence skipped off the wet surface over an advanced Sydney FC keeper Duro Dragicevic, and in the ensuing footrace for the ball he pulled down the Central Coast striker and was shown a straight red card.
Down to ten men, forward Marco Tilio, was sacrificed as Academy back up keeper Adam Pavlesic came on between the sticks. Despite being a man short Sydney FC continued to trouble the opposition as the scored remained at 0-0 at the break.
The extra man advantage started to tell as Central Coast Mariners worked their way back into the fixture in the second half, but it wasn’t until the 65th minute that the deadlock was broken when a free kick was flicked in off the head of Nicholas Faust for a 1-0 lead.
Sydney FC did find the back of the net when Danny De Silva headed in a deflected shot but it was ruled out by the linesman’s flag in a tight offside call.
The Mariners grabbed two more goals at the back end of the half as Dylan Ruiz-Diaz and Michael Katsoulis struck for the visitors to round out the 3-0 result.
Sydney FC still have destiny in the own hands as they have two games in hand over ladder leaders Western Sydney Wanderers and second placed Central Coast Mariners, with their next fixture on Saturday, 12th January at Lambert Park against Newcastle Jets (kick off 4:30pm).