An afternoon that was frustrating for Mariners fans, a score that was delightful for Sky Blue fans and a match that was somewhat forgetful (besides the VAR) for neutrals until Sydney’s young guns took to the field.
Ah Sydney FC… A team that was thoroughly outplay midweek by Marinos but lucky enough to play the Mariners straight afterwards for a confidence boost.
The Sky Blues may have scored three goals but they weren’t as convincing as you’d expect them to be against bottom of the table Mariners.
With the return of MichelleMorrisTV™ to the Cove alongside some of TLL’s other resident Sky Blue fans including @rhiannapaynephotog_ and @cahillexpress, I was expecting Sydney to play with more oomph than they did given the big name support in the stands.
Ok sure, they scored the first goal in the 8th minute after Milos Ninkovic capitalised on Lewis Miller’s poor decision making, just easing the ball towards goal from close range, an almost flick of the foot (if you will) that was awkward for Mark Birighitti to deal with.
Sydney felt in control from the outset but then they started to cruise a little and let the Mariners back into the game a bit.
We still had some Sydney moments don’t get me wrong. Brattan almost breaking an ankle here, and VAR disallowed there, standard stuff. But if there was ever a chance for the Mariners to upset Sydney this was it, they just kept falling short when the game was theirs to grab.
Which brings us to the VAR decision. The Mariners appeared to have levelled when Gianni Stensness headed home Jack Clisby’s free kick in the 44th minute. The flag stayed down (drama) but after a discussion with his linemen, the flag was up and Beathy was calling for a goal kick.
The VAR check confirmed that while Stensness was onside, old mate Kim Eun-son was offside and then proceeded to block Alex Wilkinson from play. I don’t think Wilkinson getting there would have made a difference, but the point is that we’ll never know. The decision makes sense to me but try telling that to angry Mariners fans who feel like they’ve just been cheated out of a goal.
No seriously, please try and explain it fans in the stadium. This isn’t the cricket, no one has Speedy and Slater in their ear while they’re at the ground. I’m not sure that’s a happy solution either…
HT: CCM 0-1 SYD
The second half continued much the same. Mariners getting back into the game but not able to score that elusive goal.
The more positive talking points from this game centre around Marco Tilio and Harry Van der Saag. The Sydney FC faithful with recognise these names from within their youth ranks while everyone else had a crush course on how good these two young lads can be.
Tilio came on as a sub in 88th minute, making his HAL debut and then scored in the 89th minute. Van der Saag with the assist, providing Tilio who calmly slots the ball past a handful of Mariners and Birighitti to make it 0-2.
It’s a blow for the Mariners who had a great chance moments earlier up the other end when they forced Andrew Redmayne into a save after just Tilio came on.
As the Mariners desperately searched for a consolation in the dying moments, Sydney scored again on the counter. Tilio turned provider for Van der Saag this time, the latter running through a sea of Mariners shirts LIKE IT WAS NOTHING before getting his shot away. Birighitti making the stretch but couldn’t stop it.
After a period of Sydney dominating the league it’s frightening to see their youth tearing up the HAL. Somebody please stop them.
FT: CCM 0-3 SDY
By Bree Reidy