Heyman double secures finals football for Mariners

A double strike by the Westfield W-League’s top goalscorer Michelle Heyman secured Central Coast Mariners a 2-nil win over Melbourne Victory, and a spot in the finals series with two regular season matches still to play.

A double strike by the Westfield W-League-s top goalscorer Michelle Heyman secured Central Coast Mariners a 2-nil win over Melbourne Victory, and a spot in the finals series with two regular season matches still to play.

Played on a very humid Sydney afternoon, conditions were a little uncomfortable for both sides at Leichhardt Oval, though the Central Coast Mariners continued their marvellous streak of results.

"I am extremely proud of the team, we did really well across the park," said head coach Stephen Roche.

"There were a couple of phases where perhaps we did give them a look in, and this is something we cannot afford to do, though on the whole I am really happy for the win and to be in the finals."

Goal scoring chances were few and far between in the early stages with the Mariners dangerous on two set pieces in the opening 10 minutes, while the Victory appeared glad to defend first and hit on the counter-attack second.

The Victory-s best chance arrived down the left flank via Stephanie Catley who beat her marker before delivering a wicked cross for Deanna Niceski, though Mariners shot-stopper Jillian Loyden nullified any threat with a great stop.

The Mariners- dominance of possession paid off on 28 minutes. A swift counter-attack, following a positive Victory goalscoring opportunity, allowed the Mariners players to get forward. Golebiowski cleverly held the ball up nicely out in the middle before filtering through an exquisite short pass to Heyman who, with only Melissa Barbieri to beat, slotted past the goalkeeper for the lead.

Melbourne Victory responded on 31 minutes when a loose ball in the Mariners- penalty-area seemed destined to provide Melbourne-s Deanna Niceski with a golden chance to equalise, though an exceptional lunging effort by Mariners- captain Caitlin Cooper nullified the effort.

Heyman closed the half exceptionally well with some fine touches illustrating her confident run of form. Retrieving to dispossess a Victory midfielder, the Mariners- striker turned to glide forward and unleash a fierce drive only inches wide of the mark.

Moments later, Heyman-s trickery on the edge of the penalty-area allowed the yard of space to play a neat pass into the path of Ashleigh Connor; Connor-s first-time shot on the turn was well parried by Barbieri.

Central Coast doubled the lead on 53 minutes, again courtesy of Heyman. The W-League-s top goalscorer combined well with Lydia Vandenbergh who coolly sent Heyman through on goal. The Mariners- striker kept her nerve to round Barbieri and drive her left-footed effort into an open net.

Kelly Golebiowski nearly added a third for the Mariners shortly after when she latched onto Vandenbergh-s through pass, though the midfielder-s diagonal effort across Barbieri-s goal finished inches wide of the mark.

Melbourne did manage to penetrate the Mariners- defence in the closing moments, though Jillian Loyden parried exceptionally well, a Katie Thorlakson effort, from point-blank range.

Fine performing midfielder Kelly Golebiowski was visibly pleased at the end.

"A wonderful result, though it was tough to play out there; it was really warm.

"We are really happy, we-ve made the finals, though that does not change anything.

"We will continue to play with the same intensity, and try to challenge for top-spot," said Golebiowski.

The Mariners- next home match of the Westfield W-League season is against Newcastle Jets next Friday, 27 November at Bluetongue Stadium. Kick-off is at 5:15pm. Tickets are available online here or by phoning 132 849.

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Match Details

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Jillian LOYDEN (gk), 2. Caitlin COOPER (C), 3. Lyndsay GLOHE, 4. Rachael DOYLE, 8. Kelly GOLEBIOWSKI (16. Jenna KINGSLEY 84-), 9. Renee ROLLASON (13. Trudy CAMILLERI 59-), 10. Kendall FLETCHER, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 12. Samantha SPACKMAN, 14. Ashleigh CONNOR, 19. Lydia VANDENBERGH (7. Teresa POLIAS 90-)

Unused Subs: 20. Rachel COOPER (gk)

Yellow Cards KINGSLEY 88- Red Cards Nil Goals HEYMAN 28-, 53-

Melbourne Victory: 1. Melissa BARBIERI (gk) (C), 2. Vedrana POPOVIC (8. Katie THORLAKSON 64-), 3. Marlies Oostam, 4. Tal KARP, 5. Laura ALLEWAY, 6. Maria RUYTER-HOOLEY, 9. Stephanie Catley, 10. Deanna NICESKI, 12. Monique HANSEN-KOFOED, 13. Katrina GORRY (19. Enza BARILLA 46-), 18. Ursula HUGHSON (14. Selin KURALAY 50-)

Unused Subs: 20. Nicole PAUL (gk)

Yellow Cards Nil Red Cards Nil Goals Nil

Referee Kirralee GARDENER