Mariners a class above APIA Leichhardt in FFA Cup

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A commanding 6-0 thrashing of APIA Leichhardt continued Central Coast Mariners’ winning streak as they progressed into the semi-final stage of the FFA Cup on Tuesday night.

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Any doubters surrounding the Mariners’ ability to finish their chances have been put to bed. Nick Montgomery’s men recorded six goals against APIA as their defence kept APIA scoreless.

A masterclass in finishing it was as Central Coast recorded 11 shots on target with some absolute brilliance from their new recruits.

In previous games, the Mariners have struggled to find the net on multiple occasions and were bailed out by some cameo finishes. APIA were unfortunately on the other end of the Mariners’ timely executions, making the most of their chances.

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Pre-game, Montgomery opted to rest some of his stars, notably captain Oliver Bozanic, who was coming off a cinderella 100th A-League Men’s appearance. Mariners faithful were not to be disappointed as the scoreline depicted their team’s ability to adapt to change.

Week after week, Montgomery has highlighted Central Coast’s academy prowess and is yet to fail him. Three weeks on the trot, the Mariners have kept their opponents scoreless and have piled on 10 goals in the process.

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Four of the Mariners six goals were scored by academy prodigies in Max Balard, Matt Hatch, Dan Hall and Garang Kuol. Former Adelaide United defender Noah Smith bagged a late one, while new fan-favourite Moresche added to his tally.

Central Coast continue to weave wonders with their new line-up and this could mean trouble for the teams sitting above them in the league.

The defeat to Central Coast proved to be APIA’s final hoorah after a staggering tournament. Astonishingly defeating Western Sydney Wanderers in the round of 16 meant APIA were looking to be the first NPL team to beat three A-League Men sides.

Nevertheless Daniel Cummins’ men were completely out-mastered by the youth of Central Coast. Any real opportunities were snuffed out by Mariners and turned into strong attacking phases where the home side’s defence were constantly backtracking.

APIA’s late red card to Walter Scott only rubbed salt in the wound as the Mariners continued to dominate.

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After solidifying their spot in the semi-finals for the second tournament running, Central Coast will turn their attention to next Monday’s game against Wellington Phoenix at home.

The return of players absent from Tuesday night’s match will only bolster their line-up further and they will be looking to extend their dominant streak at home.

Feature image Credit: Jason McCawley

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Mitchell Roese
Sports enthuse currently studying a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at the University of Technology Sydney. Covering the Central Coast Mariners 2021/22 A-League Season

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