Mariners get that sinking feeling against Sydney FC

The Central Coast Mariners Westfield W-League has fallen agonizingly short of claiming the 2009 premiership, following a heartbreaking 1-nil to Sydney FC this afternoon.

The Central Coast Mariners Westfield W-League side has fallen agonizingly short of claiming the 2009 premiership, following a heartbreaking 1-nil to Sydney FC this afternoon.

"There were chances both ways in the match today and we seemed to put ourselves under a great deal of pressure in the first half and we didn-t really get going until we changed some things," Head Coach Stephen Roche said.

"It-s not the end of the world, we finished second and earned a home semi final next week.

"Maybe we got too pumped up before the game and tried too hard to force things instead of playing our normal game," Roche said.

A lone strike from Leena Khamis was enough to steal the win and the premiership from the grasp of the Central Coast, a fact hard to stomach for Stephen Roche-s troops.

The Mariners women attacked with flair and purpose early with Kendall Fletcher putting in a lovely cross in only the fifth minute of play, which rebounded off the crossbar. Unfortunately for the hosts Jenna Kingsley was unable to finish off with her shot sailing harmlessly out of play.

Mariners ‘keeper Jillian Loyden was first called into action in the tenth minute when Heather Garriock put through an intelligent through-ball to Sarah Walsh. Loyden bravely dived on the ball frustrating Sydney-s speedy striker.

American import Lydia Vandenbergh fancied her chances from distance with an audacious free kick from thirty yards almost catching Sydney shot-stopper Nikola Dieter unaware, as she was preoccupied with setting up her wall. Dieter-s blushes were spared as the ball ultimately cleared the crossbar by inches much to the Pisagh Forest native-s anguish.

Vandenbergh clearly sensed there was an opportunity to catch Dieter off her line as she again tried her luck from distance eight minutes later.

Jenna Kingsley was looking threatening whenever she touched the ball with plenty of energetic runs but the promising combination she had with Michelle Heyman wasn-t on display this week.

The goal scoring phenomenon that is Michelle Heyman was comprehensively marked by the Sydney FC defence who had clearly done their homework and came with a plan to nullify the leagues leading scorer.

The Mariners next scoring chance came from the boot of another American as Kendall Fletcher tried to outdo the efforts of her compatriot and attempted a cheeky chip from distance, which was saved by Dieter.

Leena Khamis broke the deadlock in the 34th minute when she was able to spring the offside trap. The Mariners women committed the cardinal sin of not playing to the whistle thinking that the Sydney striker was offside and despite Loyden getting a hand to the shot the ball was allowed to trickle into the net. It was a critical lapse of concentration for a team that prides itself on its defence.

The Mariners appeared to be shell-shocked by the turn of events as really they were the more energetic side in the preceding half an hour, but football is a funny old game.

Jillian Loyden had to save her side again sixty seconds later with a brilliant one handed save off a shot with plenty of venom from the boot of Sarah Walsh.

Desperate to get the goal that would clinch the side a maiden premiership the Mariners were very nearly scored against immediately in the second half as they pushed forward and were caught short on the counter by Sydney-s Kyah Simon.

Only a desperate one handed save by Loyden who forced the ball out of play saved the side from conceding a second goal.

The Mariners best chance to level the match was in the 64th minute when Kendall Fletcher drilled a free kick from a promising position into the wall and the shot deflected into the possession of Sydney.

In an effort to nullify the combination of Heather Garriock and Sarah Walsh the Mariners defence played deeper and got numbers behind the ball with Lyndsay Glohe working hard to cover a lot of territory.

Kyah Simon managed to split the defence in the 68th minute and a goal seemed inevitable but the chance went begging for Sydney with Loyden pulling off another spectacular save.

A Jessica Seaman cross fell within inches of Michelle Heyman but again the Mariners were unable to capitalise on promising lead-up play.

Sarah Walsh had a chance to seal the game deep in regulation time but was again thwarted by Loyden who worked hard for her money all afternoon.

The Mariners women all pressed forward in stoppage time in search of that elusive goal but it wasn-t to be.

A Vandenbergh corner was headed on by Rachael Doyle with the ball falling at the feet of Kingsley who was unable to get enough power into her shot after being tackled by Teigen Allen.

"They were up and in her (Heyman) face during the game but we didn-t really take advantage of the gaps that were created by her being marked by 3 and 4 players.

"We will take some positives out of the game and have a settled lineup for next week," said Roche.

Jenna Kingsley agreed with Roche-s assessment believing the side was nervous when they took the field.

"Everyone was really nervous and pumped for the game and it did effect us at the start because we wanted it so badly.

"We rushed our play and panicked instead of playing our normal football.

"We-re a family and we play for each other," Kingsley said.

Lyndsay Glohe was happy with the crowd support at the game.

"It was awesome to see so many people at the game today and they were really supportive and it was helpful for us in the match.

"Walshy was able to squeeze through our defence and get a good pass away for the goal," Glohe said.

Stephen Roche said it would-ve been nice to win the premiership but was happy to finish in the top two.

"It would-ve been nice to finish first but we-re still there. We will go into next week and treat it like another game," said Roche.

"It-s a completely different ball game. It will hurt them now but come training they will be ready to go again.

"Beware the wounded bull."

The Central Coast Mariners Westfield W-League side will host a home semi final next weekend. Date, Kick-off time, venue and opponent are still to be confirmed.

Mariners Four Match Christmas Packs are available online by clicking here

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Jillian LOYDEN, (GK) 3. Lyndsay GLOHE, 4. Rachael DOYLE, 5. Jessica SEAMAN,(15. Elizabeth O-REILLY 77-) 9. Renee ROLLASON (C) (7.Teresa POLIAS 73-), 10. Kendall FLETCHER ,11. Michelle HEYMAN, 12. Samantha SPACKMAN, 14. Ashleigh CONNOR, (13. Trudy CAMILLERI 60-) 16. Jenna KINGSLE,Y 19. Lydia VANDENBERGH.

Unused Subs 20. Rachel COOPER (GK)

Yellow Cards Heyman 59-, Rollason, 60-, Kingsley 67- Red Cards None Goals None

Sydney FC: 1. Nikola DEITER (GK), 2. Teigen ALLEN, 4. Alesha CLIFFORD, 6. Servet UZUNLAR, 7. Heather GARRIOCK (C), 9. Sarah WALSH, (18. Brittany WHITFIELD 88-) 10. Kylie LEDBROOK, 11. Cathrine PAASKE, 15. Kyah SIMON, (12. Michelle CARNEY 89-) 16. Linda O-NEILL, 19. Leena KHAMIS (13. Catherine CANNULLI 77-)

Unused Subs 20. Carla MONFORTE (GK)

Yellow Cards None Red Cards None Goals Khamis 34-

Referee Kate JACEWICZ