Mariners confirm Finals spot with clinical win over Canberra

Central Coast Mariners continued their fine recent form with a 4-1 win at home to Canberra United in the Liberty A-League, confirming our Finals spot with two games to play.

Some fabulous free-flowing attacking football saw the Mariners take a 4-0 lead into half time, thanks to a Rola Badawiya brace as well as goals from Wurigumula and Kyah Simon.

The Mariners’ dominance started from the off, as Wurigumula notched her eighth of the season just three minutes in, smashing home at the second attempt after a lovely pass from Simon.

Simon may not officially be awarded the assist for the first, but she will for the second, neatly laying off Badawiya who clinically finished her first of the afternoon.

The Mariners were carving Canberra open with every attack, but there was a rare first half sight of goal at the other end on 29 minutes when Canberrra’s star duo Michelle Heyman and Vesna Milivojevic combined.

Heyman’s cross found Milivojevic who teed it up for a volley and struck sweetly but Dumont held on well.

Minutes later it was three for the Mariners. Following a corner, Simon struck a volley which was blocked by the hands of Sarah Clark, referee Caitlin Williams had a perfect view and pointed to the spot. Who else but Simon to step up, and she coolly converted her third goal in her last four games.

There was another quick blow for Canberra as Badawiya made it four on 35 minutes, controlling and slotting home Jazmin Wardlow’s delivery from the left, her seventh of the campaign.

Canberra’s top scorer Heyman was replaced at half time but Dumont would still be kept on her toes in the second half as the visitors searched for a consolation goal.

On 70 minutes, she denied what would have been a goal of the season contender as Ruby Nathan caught Nickoletta Flannery’s cross on the volley, but Casey flew to her right to claw the effort away.

A minute later, Dumont denied Milivojevic again with a save low to her left, and did well to tip over substitute Ava Piazzi’s free kick moments after.

The clean sheet her second half performance deserved was denied on 87 minutes and Canberra did manage to grab a consolation, Nickoletta Flannery headed home from close range after Dumont had made a double save, to make the final score 4-1.

Dumont’s fantastic second half performance saw her end on 10 saves, challenging Badawiya in the Player of the Match award voting.

The win confirms a Finals spot for Husband and the team, a tremendous achievement for the club in it’s first season upon returning to the Liberty A-League.

The Mariners are in action again next Saturday, making the trip to Melbourne to take on Melbourne City, before returning home for the season finale on Thursday 28th March, as title-chasing Western United are the visitors.