An seven-goal first half set the tone for Melbourne Victory’s 8-1 annihilation of Central Coast in a lopsided National Youth League clash.
An astonishing seven-goal first half set the tone for Melbourne Victory’s 8-1 annihilation of league leaders Central Coast in a lopsided National Youth League clash at SS Anderson Reserve on Sunday.
Doubles to captain Luke O’Dea and James Jeggo, and goals to Andrew Nabbout, John Buceto, Connor Pain and Christopher Cristaldo guided the hosts, as Victory prised apart the Mariners defence at will.
Mitchell Duke gave the young Mariners a minor consolation with a second-half strike.
The Mariners were missing several regulars from their youth squad including Adam Kwasnik, Zac Anderson, Brent Griffiths and Oliver Bozanic who were required for the seniors the day before.
The contest was all but over within the first 10 minutes as Victory constantly opened up a dire Mariners defence with precise passing.
It was an improved performance by the Mariners in the second half after some tactical tweaks from coach John McLafferty, although it was far too late to salvage a result.
Straight from the kickoff, Victory began the rout as five quick passes were exchanged and Jeggo easily slotted the ball past Mariners keeper’ David Bradasevic.
Barely two minutes later, Victory’s lead was doubled when Nabbout walked the ball into the back of the net after Buceto took the keeper out of the equation with a clever run.
It became evident that the game was going to be a rout on nine minutes, when Buceto found acres of space in the penalty area and stroked a well-placed finish for Melbourne’s third.
After only 15 minutes, it started getting ugly and Victory created a four-on-three situation in attack and O’Dea had the composure to finish coolly past Bradasevic.
The Mariners managed to hold off the Victory for 14 minutes before the fifth was added when poor defending by Michael Neill allowed Nabbout to cross unchallenged to Pain, who chested down and finished clinically in the bottom left corner.
It was 6-0 on 30 minutes when O’Dea walked the ball into the back of the net as the defending performance was getting seriously embarrassing by the Mariners.
The scoring was completed for the half when Jeggo scored his second with a powerful drive from just inside the penalty area, and made the scoreline 7-0 at half-time.
Despite an improved Mariners second-half performance, substitute Cristaldo tapped home at the back post in the 66th minute from Luc Jeggo’s low cross through the six-yard box.
Central Coast managed to get a consolation goal on 76 minutes as Duke out-muscled Jason Geria and rounded Victory’s second-half keeper Luke Radonich.
The crushing win for Victory meant they closed the gap on Central Coast to three points at the top of the National Youth League ladder.
Melbourne Victory 8 (J.Jeggo 1, 39, Nabbout 3, Buceto 9, O’Dea 15, 30, Pain 29, Cristaldo 66)
Central Coast 1 (Duke 76)
Melbourne Victory: 1. Tando Velaphi (GK) (20. Luke Radonich 45), 2. Matthew Foschini, 3. Jason Geria, 4. Sam Gallagher, 5. Dylan Murnane, 6. Kwabena Boahene (14. Luc Jeggo 61), 8. James Jeggo, 9. Luke O’Dea (c), 10. Connor Pain, 11. John Buceto (13. Theodore Markelis 61), 15. Andrew Nabbout (7. Christopher Cristaldo 55)
Central Coast: 1. David Bradasevic (GK), 2. Nikola Stanojevic (c), 3. Michael Neill, 5.Hayden Morton, 6. Daniel Bragg (11. Louis Bozanic 60), 7. Adam Jenner, 8. Dillon Vorster (10. Tomislav Cirjak 60), 9. Aaron Peterson, 12. Patrick Dixon (14. Jordan Crighton 60), 15. Brad McDonald, 19. Mitchell Duke