10-Player Mariners take all three points after CRAZY ending against Sydney FC

Central Coast Mariners Women earned a spectacular three points against in-form Champions Sydney FC, after the craziest of endings at Leichhardt Oval.

The Mariners led thanks to Jazmin Wardlow’s deflected first-half strike, before the game took a dramatic twist in the 78th minute as substitute keeper Sarah Langman was sent off, meaning Ash Irwin would finish the game between the sticks for the Mariners.

Langman had come off the bench for the injured Casey Dumont at half time and received a booking on 67 minutes for time-wasting. So with no sub-keeper remaining it would be the centre back to finish in goal.

It looked like late heartbreak for the Mariners as Mackenzie Hawkesby’s long-range free-kick found it’s way over the line to square the game in stoppage time but there would be one final twist.

Mariners were awarded a penalty after Wardlow’s cross struck the hand of a Sydney defender, Wurigumala took the spot-kick but saw it saved by Jada Whyman, but was quickest to react in a crowded box to slam the ball home from close range on the rebound.

The win for the Mariners sees them put an end to Sydney’s seven-game unbeaten streak, whilst extending their own positive run at the start of 2024, that’s seven points from a possible nine since the turn of the year that sees us rise to fourth in the Liberty A-League.

Emily Husband made three changes from the side that beat Wellington Phoenix on Friday evening, wisely managing the squad during a busy period, this the second of three games in eight days.

Annabel Martin, Tess Quilligan and Paige Hayward came into the starting eleven in place of Faye Bryson, Izzy Gomez and Peta Trimis, who all dropped to the bench.

In the absence of club captain Taren King, Bianca Galic lead the side out again.

It was Galic who created an early chance for the Mariners, intercepting a pass in midfield before sliding in Hayward, who just hesitated a second too long as she bore down on goal and Whyman was able to make the save.

The hosts’ first effort on goal came from range and was simple enough for Casey Dumont to gather, before a much more presentable chance came for Aideen Keene on 25 minutes but she couldn’t put the finishing touch to a flowing Sydney move.

The opener came the Mariners’ way on 34 minutes, Jazmin Wardlow read the flight of an overhit cross from the right and drilled an effort towards goal. The ball may have been going off target but took a deflection off Sydney defender Charlotte Mclean and found the back of the net.

Sydney pushed forward for an equaliser and Dumont was forced into her biggest save of the half in stoppage time, getting a strong hand to Zara Kruger’s strike.

Husband made two half time changes as Dumont was forced off and Galic was rested, with Langman and Gomez coming on to replace them.

The hosts made a change of their own as Jynaya Dos Santos made way for Cortnee Vine. The Matilda’s introduction lifted the crowd at Leichhardt and she had a couple of early runs at the Mariners defence, but the visitors weathered the storm.

At the other end, Gomez was involved as she tried her luck from range but Whyman claimed well to prevent a stunning goal.

The real drama was yet to come and a hectic end to the game began on 78 minutes when Langman was dismissed for a foul outside her box and Irwin took the gloves.

She was straight into the thick of the action, Sydney bundled the ball into the back of the net from the resulting free-kick but it was ruled out as Irwin had taken a clattering from the initial ball into the box.

The hosts piled the pressure on the visitors’ goal and found a way through early into eight added minutes, Hawkesby’s long range free-kick escaping the clutches of our stand-in keeper, making it 1-1.

Shut up shop and hold on to a point with 10-players, surely? No. The resilient Mariners went in search of a winner and were given the best possible opportunity when Wardlow’s cross hit a Sydney hand and Bec Mackie, who had a busy night in the middle to say the least, pointed to the spot.

The rollercoaster of emotions still wasn’t done. From agony to ecstasy once more as Wurigumala’s penalty was saved by Whyman, but the Chinese International reacted quickest, following into to convert at the second attempt and seal a memorable win for the Mariners.

You can see Husband’s team in action again this weekend, as they return to Our Paradise to host Western Sydney Wanderers this Sunday (7:45pm), preceded by our Men’s team hosting Melbourne City (5pm), in an unmissable double header. Get your tickets for that one now via the link below.