Mariners dent Victory’s finals hopes

Central Coast Mariners finished its season with a flourish scoring two late goals to ruin the hopes of finals aspirants Melbourne Victory at Parramatta Stadium.

Central Coast Mariners finished its season with a flourish scoring two late goals to ruin the hopes of finals aspirants Melbourne Victory at Parramatta Stadium.

The Victory went into the match in fourth position with the knowledge that a win would guarantee their finals status.

However the 2-0 loss allowed Sydney FC to reclaim fourth position after the Victory had reached as high as second on the ladder a few weeks earlier.

The Mariners meanwhile required a five-goal winning margin to overhaul the Victory, and then rely on an unlikely series of results in other matches going their way.

An uncompromising opening set the tone for a match that remained highly competitive throughout despite the fact the Mariners maintained only the slimmest hopes of a finals berth.

The frenetic first half saw few gilt-edged chances created with the first on the 15-minute mark as Mariners midfielder Karina Roweth pushed her shot wide after being set up by a Lyndsay Glohe pass.

The Victory forced Mariners custodian Emma-Kate Dewhurst into a couple of first half saves with the best being a tip over the crossbar from a well-struck Sophie Hogben volley.

Heavy rain greeted players for the second half but spirits weren’t dampened for the visitors who could have scored within seconds of the restart. Sarah Groenewald’s cross from the left was flicked past Dewhurst at the near post but skipper Caitlin Cooper was on hand to make a goal-line clearance.

The Mariners had a similar chance minutes later with Rachel Doyle’s effort at the back post blocked after a Teresa Polias corner.

Aside from the goals the best chance of the match came just past the hour mark with a pinpoint Kyah Simon pass releasing Kingsley but the young strikers shot lacked conviction and failed to trouble the exposed Melissa Barbieri in the Victory goal.

Renee Rollason then hit the roof of the net with a looping long-range effort as the Victory’s final charge creaked much to the approval of the onlooking Sydney FC supporters, whose own play-off destiny was hanging on the result.

Play swept from end to end throughout the second period and the breakthrough looked likely at either end but for some poor final passes on the slippery surface.

With Melbourne pushing forward for a winner Kingsley finally breached the offside trap to break Victory hearts in the final minute of regular time.

Incredibly there was still time for a second for the Mariners to score a second three minutes into injury time as substitute Elizabeth O’Reilly casually volleyed a Glohe cross past Barbieri

The second goal potentially proving costly with Melbourne’s goal difference further eroded, meaning that Sydney requires just a score draw or better to overhaul the Victory and reach the semis.

Central Coast Mariners 2 (Jenna Kingsley 89′, Elizabeth O-Reilly 93′)
Melbourne Victory 0

Central Coast Mariners line-up: Emma-Kate DEWHURST (Lisa HARTLEY 75-); Caitlin COOPER (c), Lyndsay GLOHE, Rachael DOYLE, Jodie BAIN (Gill FOSTER 67-), Karina ROWETH, Teresa POLIAS, Renee ROLLASON, Kyah SIMON, Trudy CAMILLERI (Elizabeth O-REILLY h/t), Jenna KINGSLEY

Substitutes: Emma STEWART

Cautions: Kingsley 50-

Melbourne Victory line-up: Melissa BARBIERI; Megan ARCHER, Marlies OOSTDAM, Tal KARP (Stephanie TANTI 72-), Laura ALLEWAY, Maika RUYTER-HOOLEY, Sarah GROENEWALD (Enza BARILLA 77-), Rebecca TEGG, Sophie HOGBEN, Selin KURULAY, Daniela DIGIAMMARCO (Deanna NICESKI 82-)

Substitutes Not Used: Nicole PAUL (gk),

Cautions: Hogben 74-

Attendance: 795

Referee: Kate Jacewicz