Heart fall to Mariners fight-back

Melbourne Heart FC's National Youth League side went down 2-1 against a strong Central Coast Mariners outifit at John Cain this afternoon.

Melbourne Heart FC's National Youth League side went down 2-1 against a strong Central Coast Mariners outfit at John Cain Memorial Park this afternoon.

In an eventful game, the Heart took the lead early through Stipo Andrijasevic before a Mitchell Duke strike and Daniel Bragg put the visitors ahead before half-time.

Heart kicked off in blustery conditions and began the game brightly thanks largely to the influence of speedy winger Golgol Mebrahtu.

The former Gold Coast United man was the home side's most dangerous player, with his skilful runs causing Mariners left-back Michael Neill all sorts of problems.

And the 22-year-old played a decisive role in the opening goal, with his ball into the box eventually finding its way to Andrijasevic at the back post.

The winger was able to calmly place the ball into the far corner to give his side the lead after just five minutes.

Mebrahtu should have added his name to the scoresheet seven minutes later after he was found inside the box by Jeremy Walker but his first-time shot fizzed over the bar.

But it was Mariners striker Duke who levelled the scores 15 minutes in, before Bragg netted a second for the visitors.

The second half was a much tamer affair with a string of substitutions not allowing either side to enjoy any rhythm in possession.

Heart was unlucky in the second half, when Ersin Kaya saw his shot deflect away for a corner before Zac Walker volleyed just over the bar from 20 yards.

The Heart had more chances through a William Abbott header and an Andrijasevic strike, but hope faded when the side lost Stefan Mauk to a second yellow card.

Melbourne Heart 1 (Stipo Andrijasevic 5) Central Coast Mariners 2 (Mitchell Duke 15, Daniel Bragg 31)

Melbourne Heart: 1. Alastair Bray, Jeremy Walker (Evan Batsis '85), Sam Mitchinson, Andrew Mullett, Abbott, Josh Groenewald, Evan Batsis (Zac Walker), Stefan Mauk, Golgol Mebrahtu (Ersin Kaya '45), Philip Petreski & Stipo Andrijasevic. (subs) Chris Maynard, Paulo Retre

Central Coast: David Bradasevic, Nikola Stanojevic, Michael Neill (Jordan Crighton 54), Kieren Paull, Daniel Bragg (Tomislav Cirjak 59), Adam Jenner, Adriano Pellegrino, Adam Kwasnik, Oliver Bozanic, Brent Griffiths, Mitchell Duke (Patrick Dixon 35).