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Central Coast United have showcased their credentials as title contenders after thumping South Coast Flame 9-0. The floodgates opened at Ian McLennan Park, as United inflicted more pain and misery on the Flame. It was a painful day as a whole for South Coast, with our U/18’s and U/20’s suffering their first losses of the season.

Central Coast controlled possession from the first whistle and looked to assert their dominance. Star striker Adam Woodbine threatened South Coast in the 6th minute, when he was able to force an early save from Matthew White after a powerful shot.

Central Coast’s first goal of the match came just four minutes later, when Yuki Morkawa was able to tap the ball into the net after the ball hit the post off a free-kick.

The Flame had to create attacking chances if they were to be any chance in this match, and their first chance came through Louis Connell in the 21st minute. Connell was able to use his pace to beat United’s defence before his left-foot shot was brilliantly saved by Jack O’Mally.

Central Coast seemed to have all the time in the world when on the ball – especially in the midfield. This allowed for a swift connection between Woodbine, Daniel McFarlane and Alex Arbelo, which caused headaches for South Coast.

South Coast’s attacking chances were limited, however Hiroaki Ushijima was able to threaten in the 40th minute when he beat a stubborn Central Coast defence. Ushijima was able to cut the ball onto his favoured right-foot, however the shot that followed sailed over the bar.

United doubled their lead shortly after, when Captain McFarlane buried a beautiful free-kick from the edge of the penalty box in the 42nd minute.

Jarred Steen made it three for Central Coast in the 46th minute, when he headed the ball into the back of the net after being left unmarked by the Flame defence. This ensured that United took a three-goal lead into the sheds at half time.

The floodgates opened in the second half as Central Coast continued to dominate before snatching their fourth goal in the 50th minute. United were able to capitalise on a cheap turnover of possession from the Flame, which lead to Woodbine finishing off a beautiful counter-attack from Central Coast.

The situation became worse for the Flame in the 53rd minute, when a lacklustre back-pass was pounced on by Steen as he grabbed his second of the afternoon.

South Coast had no answer for the constant barrage of attacks from United, and couldn’t seem to get anywhere near the ball when Central Coast were in possession.

The Flame were able to attack in the 58th minute, when Connell was able to make enough space to shoot on his left foot. The shot that followed was blocked by an extremely solid and stubborn Central Coast defence.

United made it six in the 71st minute, when Arbelo was able to capitalise on a wayward clearance from an unorganised South Coast defence. Arbelo was a menace, and Central Coast were in dream land.

McFarlane grabbed his second goal of the match in the 77th minute, as United inflicted more misery onto South Coast. A defensive scramble lead to the ball falling into McFarlane’s path, which the captain made no mistake in finishing.

Substitute Joshua Schumann finished the annihilation in the 83rd minute, when he was able to punish a couple of sloppy errors in possession from South Coast. It was the final nail in the coffin, as South Coast suffered their worst ever defeat.

Captain White admitted that constantly losing the ball let the Flame down, but believes that the young squad can bounce back.

“Tonight it all just went wrong. We lacked hunger for the ball, we gave the ball away too easily. At the end of the day, they (Central Coast) were clinical and they punished us. I just think we need to improve on our intensity and hunger to win. It’s all things we can fix and I think we will do it. Next for us is to re-group Monday, train hard and turn this around next weekend” – Matt White.

Our U/20’s suffered their first loss of the season this afternoon, going down 3-1 to a clinical Central Coast outfit. A lacklustre first half from the Flame saw Central Coast score two before the break.  United grabbed their third before Harrison Ellem scored a header in the last moment of play.

The U/18’s squad suffered a heavy defeat in the earliest game, going down 7-3 to a dominant United. Central Coast were dominant in the U/18’s, and showcased why they are currently top of the table.

South Coast need to re-group before next weekend, when they take on the Balmain Tigers at Ian McLennan Park. U/18’s kick off at 12pm, U/20’s kick off at 2pm and First Grade kick off at 4pm. The Tigers are yet to register a win in First Grade, and will be hungry for their first three points of the season.

Report by Jarrod Pollard

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