Canberra United 2 (Brodie Clarkson 3’, Zac Barbatano 62’) def. by Central Coast Mariners 3 (Alec Vinci 53’, Josh McDonald 86’, Own Goal 90’)
Two goals in the dying minutes denied Canberra United a winning start to the Foxtel Y-League 2018/19 season, with Dean Ugrinic’s side going down 3-2 to the Central Coast Mariners at Deakin Stadium.
United got off to the perfect start in their maiden outing through a brilliant strike from Brodie Clarkson.
Ben Obst cut the ball back from the wing, and after Antoni Timotheou stepped over the ball, Clarkson arrived to thump the ball past Joe Gauci and in to the back of the net..
United continued to press early and created most of the chances in the opening period, but the visitors began to work their way back into the contest and Peter Kekeris in particular was causing trouble for the hosts with his direct running.
Zac Barbatano came on for Conor Nolan in an early change, and Bul Juach came close to doubling the advantage as his header beat Gauci but was kept out by the crossbar as the pressure increased.
Juach had another good chance as he set Lucas Mauragis free down the right but his shot from the cut-back was well saved by Gauci and the difference remained a single goal at the break.
It took just seven minutes of the second half for the Mariners to restore parity, as the ever-dangerous Kekeris chipped in a cross to the head of Alec Vinci at the near post.
Nine minutes later though the hosts were back in the lead through Barbatano.
Timotheou drove hard to the byline before cutting the ball back and although a defender got to it first, it was only a slight touch onto the boot of Barbatano who smashed it home into the top corner.
James Fletcher had an excellent game out on the flank and did well to stymie former teammate Nick Faust on his return to Canberra, but a lapse in concentration from the backline allowed the Mariners to again equalise inside the final 10 minutes when Josh McDonald headed home almost unmarked.
Then in the final minute, a cross from the left found the head of a defender and looped over Finn Jurak to give the Mariners their first lead of the game late in the match.
United now turn their attention to another home outing on Saturday as the Western Sydney Wanderers visit Deakin Stadium.
Canberra United v Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday, 17th November @ 6:30pm
Foxtel Y-League Round Two