Mariners’ Grand Final aspirations dashed by Roar

A single goal again proved to be the difference between Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane Roar as the Queensland side scored their second win of the season against the yellow and navy to deny the Mariners a historic Westfield W-League grand-final berth next weekend.

A single goal again proved to be the difference between Central Coast Mariners and Brisbane Roar as the Queensland side scored their second win of the season against the yellow and navy to deny the Mariners a historic Westfield W-League grand-final berth next weekend.

Played at an often frantic pace on a warm Gosford afternoon, a curling free-kick by Karla Reuter proved the difference on 62 minutes, silencing the boisterous Central Coast supporters.

Despite the Roar losing Sasha McDonnell 20 minutes from the end after picking up a second yellow card, the Mariners failed to take advantage and claw their way back into the contest. Central Coast Mariners- coach Stephen Roche was visibly disappointed following the match.

"It was a tough match, we are disappointed to lose out conceding a goal via a set-piece," said Roche.

"I think we held our own today, the girls knew they could compete with them - an experienced side - and we even created a few chances. Perhaps on another day we would have taken the chances.

"On the whole, though, I am very proud of the girls, they put in a lot of effort and we have had a great season."

Tameka Butt created the first attempt on goal for the afternoon with a long-range drive finishing inches over the newly crowned Westfield W-League goalkeeper of the year Jillian Loyden-s goal.

The Mariners replied on 6 minutes when Kendall Fletcher-s floated effort into the penalty-area was latched onto by Jenna Kingsley. Casey Dumont thwarted Kingsley-s out-stretched attempt, with Ashleigh Connor following up to drive on goal, only to be denied by the scrambling Roar defence on the goal-line.

W-league top-scorer Michelle Heyman sprung the Brisbane Roar offside trap on 19 minutes to create a yard of space, though failed to direct her effort on goal with goalkeeper Dumont not called upon to make a save.

Brisbane Roar-s experience was always a threat for the home-side, and Lauren Colthorpe very nearly made the Mariners pay when she, almost unnoticed, rose highest in the penalty-area to head over the crossbar from close-range.

At the other end, Renee Rollason picked up a loose ball outside the penalty-area and struck first-time; her effort only just finished over the crossbar, much to the relief of Dumont who was backpedaling.

Central Coast Mariners- shot-stopper Jillian Loyden proved her worth with a fantastic diving effort to deny Aivi Luik from distance; the USA import saved sensationally well down to her left.

Kendall Fletcher had the Mariners- crowd on their feet when her free-kick - cross turn shot - from 30-metres nearly caught Dumont out in the Roar goal, though the effort finished inches over the crossbar.

Following the break, Mariners boss Stephen Roche was forced into replacing Kingsley, with Kelly Golebiowski. Kingsley picked up a late knock in the opening half, and did not return for the second-half.

Heyman got the crowd onto their feet shortly after the re-start, cleverly timing her run to lose her marker down the left-flank following a fine through ball via the feet of Rollason. Despite creating the year of space required for a shot, Heyman-s effort was easy pickings for Dumont in the Roar goal.

Goalkeeper Loyden made a fine one-handed save on the hour when her clearance ricocheted off a Roar player, much to the relief of the Mariners- faithful.

Moments later though, a well-taken Karla Reuter free-kick caught Loyden unawares, as Reuter-s ‘left peg- dipped underneath the crossbar and into the back of the net.

The Mariners- response was instant, though Heyman, Connor and Rollason squandered half-chances in the space of five minutes.

Brisbane Roar lost midfielder Sasha McDonnell after she received her second yellow card of the afternoon, allowing the Mariners numerical advantage for the remainder of the match.

Despite the advantage, and one way traffic with the Mariners holding a monopoly of possession, the Mariners continued to come up short with the final pass often letting the side down.

Lydia Vandenbergh unleashed a venomous diagonal drive from the right-side of the penalty-area on 82 minutes, though the scrambling Roar defence got bodies behind the ball to clear any danger.

The Mariners- final forward flurry failed to reap reward as the experience of the Roar proved telling in the closing stages as the team from Queensland sealed the semi-final win.

Central Coast-s crowned Westfield W-League player of the year, and recipient of the prestigious Julie Dolan Medal, Michelle Heyman remained upbeat following the match, despite the loss.

"It is disappointing to lose, though it has been a great season by all the girls - we have had a great season, and we-ll be back to go a step better next season.

"It was tough, perhaps the marking was not as tight as last weekend against Sydney FC, though they were really well organised today and made it tough for us," said Heyman.

Brisbane Roar will now move on to meet Sydney FC in the Westfield W-League season 2 grand-final next Saturday afternoon in Sydney.

Match Details

Central Coast Mariners: 1. Jillian LOYDEN (gk), 2. Caitlin COOPER (C), 3. Lyndsay GLOHE (13. Trudy CAMILLERI 73-), 4. Rachael DOYLE, 9. Renee ROLLASON, 10. Kendall FLETCHER, 11. Michelle HEYMAN, 12. Samantha SPACKMAN, 14. Ashleigh CONNOR, 16. Jenna KINGSLEY (8. Kelly GOLEBIOWSKI 46-), 19. Lydia VANDENBERGH

Unused Subs: 20. Rachel COOPER (gk), 7. Teresa POLIAS, 15. Elizabeth O-REILLY

Yellow Cards Michelle HEYMAN 74- Red Cards Nil Goals Nil

Brisbane Roar: 1. Casey DUMONT (gk), 2. Kate MCSHEA, 3. Karla REUTER, 4. Clare POLKINGHORNE (C), 6. Joanne BURGESS (18. Courtney BEUTEL 75-), 8. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 11. Aivi LUIK, 13. Tameka BUTT (10. Lana HARCH 90-), 14. Sasha MCDONNELL, 16. Lauren COLTHORPE, 19. Ellen BEAUMONT (7. Pam BIGNOLD 68-)

Unused Subs: 20. Kate STEWART (gk), 12. Stephanie LATHAM,

Yellow Cards Lauren COLTHORPE 32-, Sasha MCDONNELL 33-, 69-, Karla REUTER 48- Red Cards Sasha MCDONNELL 69- Goals Karla REUTER 62-

Referee Kirralee GARDENER