After two positive back-to-back results at the weekend the Mariners Academy PS4 NPL 2 Women have their destiny in their own hands and a shot at finals football.
This weekend the Mariners face Nepan FC and a win will be enough to catapult our girls into the finals. On the weekend, due to a wash out make-up game, the Mariners women played back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday which were both crucial fixtures.
The tension was obvious on Saturday when 5th placed Mariners hosted 3rd placed Nepean FC in a round nine catch up game.
Contrasting styles would see the Mariners fast paced game with aggressive transition up against Nepean’s stoic centrally controlled structure.
An early injury to Mariners’ Gabbi Blanch, which forced her from the field, could have been a blow to the Yellow & Navy however the Mariners Senior squad run deep with talent and Yule chose specialist winger Nubia Lopez to fill the gap.
Lopez made an immediate impact with a blinding right pocket run deep into space then a perfectly placed cut back across goal to Candice Phelan who made no mistake with the finish and ultimately proved to be the winner in the 21st minute.
The second half was an up tempo arm wrestle fought mainly in the midfield with both teams forced to use all available sub’s due to the high intensity nature of the battle.
The final whistle saw coach Yule leap for joy with a very important win in the bag and stage one of a big weekend complete.
Sunday saw the Mariners Women back up against a Gladesville Ravens outfit determined to make their final game of 2017 one to remember.
The Mariners Women had recovered well except for Gabbi Blanch who had not recovered in time from the injury sustained the day before.
The early stages went to script with the Mariners women exploiting their speed in attack and creating chances wide and through the middle.
It was a 12th minute push by inspirational Mariners' Captain Oriana Keane who drew defenders, held the ball then created space for Phelan who again made no mistake and the Mariners led 1-0.
The attack continued with Phelan hitting the post two minutes later followed by Keane herself firing just wide with her left foot shot.
The Mariners went into the break 1-0 up at half time with plenty of work still to be done.
The second half started as the first finished and a 51st minute Mariners corner was cleared desperately off the line with the ball falling to Grace Bryant whose powerful shot flew agonisingly over the crossbar.
But then the unthinkable happened, two quick Ravens goals in the 55th and 57th minutes against the run of play and the Mariners were down by a goal. Mariners keeper Jess Shultz was desperately unlucky as the first goal appeared to be brilliantly saved only to rebound off the post and into her back and across the line.
Yule bellowed for the team to fight back and they did in the 65th minute when Lopez again saw space down the right, outpacing her opponent to be deep in Ravens’ territory before rifling a low cross which saw Keane finish clinically from close range to bag the equaliser.
The Mariners continued to attack and their best chance was in the dying minutes when Phelan cut through to run 20 metres only to be denied by a desperate save from the Ravens’ keeper.
The game finished 2-2 which was enough for the Mariners to stay alive in the finals race.
Yule knows his team’s destiny is in their own hands as a repeat win against Nepean will see them into the finals.
Round 18 next week and the Mariners Women travel to St Mary’s to take on Nepean FC in a winner takes all proposition.
Under 13’s kick off at 8.30am and First grade kick off at 3pm.
Central Coast Mariners: 1. SCHULTZ Jess, 13. BRYANT Grace, 4. DAVIS Georgia, 5. WADDELL Letisha, 6. MCATAMNEY Jade, 7. BLANCH Gabrielle(15 LOPEZ Nubia, 8. KEANE Oriana, 9. PHELAN Candice, 12. OLIVEIRA Katie, 14. SHORTER Elizabeth and 16. DUFFY Kate
Subs not used: 10 GRANERO Christine, 15. KROEMER Jade-Anne and 20. BRADBURY Maddison
Yellow cards: Georgia Davis
Gladesville Ravens: BEATTIE Alex, BIANCHINO Isabella, BLAIR Isobel, BREUKELAAR Isabella, CORNEY Cecilia, DAVISON Jemima, FANELLA Stacey, GESTIER Hannah, GLENNIE Kassia, HOPKINS Isabella, LOYZAGA Celeste, PEDDLEY Bronwyn, SMITH Ashleigh, VANSAARLOOS Paige, BAKER Katie