Central Coast Mariners Women are back on their travels this weekend, as they make the trip to Canberra United on Saturday in the Liberty A-League.
The Mariners could climb into the top six with a win, whilst Canberra are looking to pull themselves off the foot of the table.
This will be the first meeting between the two clubs in any competition since 2009, when we played out a 1-1 draw at Canberra Stadium.
Emily Husband has made two changes to her 20-player squad for the weekend, as Annabel Martin is missing through injury and Shadeene Evans drops out. Maya Lobo and Sophie Nenadovic come in, in their places.
As for Canberra, they are without first choice keeper Chloe Lincoln after she was sent off last week against Melbourne Victory. Second choice stopper Coco Majstorovic is likely to make her first start for the club, whilst third-choice stopper Georgia Ritchie, a Junior Matilda, could make the match day squad.
Last time out
The Mariners are coming off the back of a strong home showing that saw them gain a point against second-placed Melbourne City last weekend.
An intriguing first half tactical battle saw Husband’s side pose a real threat on the counter, but they had to wait to the second half to open the scoring.
Rola Badawiya broke the deadlock with a classy finish on 53 minutes but the Mariners couldn’t hold on as Rebekah Stott’s stunner ensured City went home with a point.
The perfect chipped finish from Rola Badawiya for her 𝐬𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐧𝐝 Mariners goal of the season! 🍟 😉— Central Coast Mariners (@CCMariners) December 16, 2023
A stunning ball from Isabel Gomez to set it all up, finished off by the American! 🔥#CCMFC #BeOurMate pic.twitter.com/PSztyK8wom
Sunday’s hosts were beaten 2-0 by Melbourne Victory last weekend. McKenzie Weinert opened the scoring in the first half and just five minutes into the second period Lincoln was sent off, Victory went on to double their lead on 57 minutes through Kurea Okino.
Players to watch
Despite Canberra’s struggles so far this season, they do have the current Liberty A-League top scorer in their ranks in Vesna Milivojevic. The Serbian has eight goals in six games so far this season, including six in her last four.
Before last week’s blank against Victory, the 21-year-old scored a hat-trick as United picked up their first win of the season in style, thrashing Brisbane 5-1.
This season, she also has braces against Adelaide and Newcastle, plus a goal against Perth.
Mariners, who boast the joint-third best defence in the league having conceded only nine, will have to be on their guard to keep her at bay.
Reflecting on a strong showing last time out and how we can take the performance into this weekend’s game, Husband said:
“We were relatively happy with how the game went, the girls executed the game plan really well.”
There was a good feeling after the game, we were gutted that we couldn’t get the three points but we have a had a good week this week, so we’re ready for another game this weekend.
“We’ve looked to rectify a couple of things in a few areas and continued to improve the areas we know we need to as a team. Then, we’ve obviously looked at what we wanted to put in place to beat Canberra.”
On what to expect from Saturday’s opponents, she said:
They are good in transition moments, they’re one of the highest scoring teams but also one of the highest conceding teams, so that tells you a lot about where their strengths and weaknesses lay.
“We know they’ve got some really good forwards that we have got to watch out for, but there are definitely weaknesses that we are looking to capitalise on as well.”
Husband outlined some key aspects of the game, that she wants to see from her side:
“Ball retention is something that we have wanted to focus on, but with purpose, not just retention for the sake of it.”
We are good in counter attacking situations as well, but we need to continue to improve on creating good quality goalscoring opportunities from our possession.
Husband says the away trips like this weekend help the girls bond, in what is already a close-knit group despite the team still being in it’s early days together.
“The girls have really good interactions and get on well as a group, there are always laughs and jokes, so I think [the away trips] help us bond and brings us closer.”
“We want to continue to build on that performance last week. So far we have probably been a bit inconsistent. We’ve had some really good performances then dropped off a bit so we need to find consistency in what we do and try to bring that into every game.”
“We can definitely take confidence from that last game and how we competed so well against the league leaders at the time.”
I will always back us to beat any team in this league.
How to watch
The game will be broadcasted live on Paramount+. However, if you are unable to watch, you can keep up to date with live updates across Official Central Coast Mariners social media channels. Make sure you turn on notifications and use Twitter as well as Instagram and Facebook stories so you don’t miss a beat!
It's matchday in the Nation's Capital! 👊— Central Coast Mariners (@CCMariners) December 22, 2023
📅 Saturday, December 23rd
⏰ 5pm AEDT
🏟️ McKellar Park, Canberra
📺 Broadcast live on Paramount+ and 10Play
#CCMFC #CBRvCCM #BeOurMate pic.twitter.com/WsYHY0sQbC