The Central Coast Mariners women’s and girl’s academy sides were back in action on Sunday, having five tough match ups across the grades.
Coming up against Hills United away from home, with many of the games being top of the table clashes, it was an overall successful weekend.
Tuesday night also saw the under 16’s play one of their catch up games against Nepean FC, securing a pleasing 6-1 victory.
First Grade vs Hills United
Off the back of four consecutive victories, the Mariners women’s first grade side faced a tough test on the weekend, coming up against Hills United away from home.
Also undefeated heading into the match, the two teams had conceded only three goals each across their matches, with the game promising to be one of the highest quality.
The Mariners got off to the perfect start, with Chloe Smith continuing her goalscoring ways. The striker slotting in the Central Coast’s first goal of the match in the 9th minute, handing the team a 1-0 lead.
With Hills pushing to get back in the game and the Mariners aiming to further extend their advantage, neither side were able to get another before the break. Both sides coming out for a crucial second half, with three vital points on the line.
Strong defence meant that neither team were able to find the back of the net with time ticking down, with Hills turning to their bench in search of an equaliser. The Mariners holding onto an incredibly important three points, going top of the league with a game still in hand.
Star performers included Sara Piriz and Sophie Nenadovic who both made the Academy Team of the Week, with the team’s start to the season especially remarkable considering they are yet to play at home.
Under 20’s vs Hills United
Coming into the game fresh from two straight wins, the Central Coast Mariners under 20’s academy side took on Hills United on Sunday afternoon.
Playing away for their fourth consecutive round, the Mariners were aiming to continue their rise up the ladder before finally returning to Pluim Park this upcoming weekend.
A tight first half saw the scores level heading into the break, with neither team able to find the all-important go-ahead goal.
Hills eventually striking first in the 60th minute through Helena Berridge, handing them a one-nil lead heading into the final third of the match.
With the Mariners making substitutes in pursuit of an equaliser, the home side were able to double their advantage in the 73rd minute, with Rhanni Plummer scoring.
Despite fighting to get back into the match, the Mariners were unable to put one past Bridget Brien in goals, with Hills ultimately coming out with a 2-0 victory.
Currently sitting in fourth with two games in hand, the Mariners remain firmly in the hunt after the opening stages of the season, eager to return home.
Youth Girl’s vs Hills United
It was a big morning of footballing action for the youth girl’s teams at Bella Vista Public school, facing tough opposition in important match ups.
The under 14’s were down five players heading into their game, calling on reinforcements from the under 13’s. Two quick goals for the home side was not the ideal start, with the Mariners having to dig deep to fight their way back into the match. The team did just that, heading into the break with the scores locked at 2-all.
A strong second half resulted in the Mariners running out 5-2 winners, pushing the team up to seventh place off the back of three straight wins. Stand outs included Madeline Cameron who filled in as goalkeeper, Tikka Jeffery, Nissa Belcardi and Chelsea Boelhouwer.
Next up was the under 15’s side, who came up against Hills United who also sat on 12 points after the opening stages of the season. An first half goal from the home side put the team on the back foot, with Hills taking the lead into the break.
The physical contest ultimately saw no more goals scored, with the Mariners falling to their first loss of the season. The team still sit only three points off first place with a game in hand, with Ava Moller and Marli McFadden the standout performers.
The day finished with the under 16’s, who were looking to continue their undefeated streak to begin the season. Facing Hills United, who also sat near the peak of the table, what promised to be a close contest turned out to be exactly that. A first half goal both ways left the scores locked at one all heading into the break, with it all to play for.
A determined second half from the Mariners resulted in the team scoring what turned out to be the winner, with a quick turnaround needed heading into a Tuesday night catch up game.
Facing Nepean away from home at 6:30pm, the two sides played out a tight first half, with the Mariners taking a 1-0 lead into the break. A dominant second half saw the Central Coast record an impressive 6-1 victory, pushing them up to first on the competition ladder with a game still in hand.