Melbourne City coach John van 't Schip has hailed his City kids for stepping up to the plate and skipper Patrick Kisnorbo for rebounding in style against Central Coast.
After being dropped for the club's FFA Cup semi-final, Kisnorbo's headed goal set City on their way against the Mariners, earning a 3-1 win and their first three points of the A-League season.
Beset by injuries and bad form, van 't Schip has turned to youth this week and it yielded great success.
Against the Mariners, van 't Schip fielded five players under 21 - Steve Kuzmanovski (18), Stefan Zinni (19), Jacob Melling (20), Stefan Mauk (20) and Ben Garuccio (20) - with Corey Gameiro (22) also playing his first match in 11 months after a serious knee injury.
"A line-up like this, three months ago everybody would say that's not possible," van 't Schip said.
"Because of injuries, we've had a good look at some younger boys and we've given them an opportunity and they've taken that opportunity and full credit to them."
At 34, Kisnorbo is at the latter end of his career but still pleased van 't Schip with his display.
The coach revealed he had a heart-to-heart with his captain in light of the club's early season woes.
"This is a season where we want to make steps and he has to continue making those steps with the team as well," he said.
"Today he showed a great mentality and scored a good goal."
Kisnorbo - who has barely missed a match since arriving at the club two years ago - said he understood the new approach at City where form outweighs reputation on the teamsheet.
"I didn't play but I knew that maybe there'd be an opportunity down the track," he said.
"We've got a few good talents at the club, it's great for us and great for Australian football that they're coming through the ranks.
"I'm just happy to be a part of the team with them."
Erik Paartalu, 29, is a different case, missing the entire matchday squad after van 't Schip lost patience over a long form slump.
"Erik got the opportunity for more than a year, played every game that he could when he was fit," he said.
"I didn't see enough progression ... we tried to do things to help and give players some instructions (but) in the end, I wasn't satisfied and someone else gets the opportunity."