NPL Wrap: Valiant men & women complete finals campaigns


In a heart-breaking weekend of finals football our women’s academy team have completed their impressive season with a Grand Final defeat whilst our men have bowed out in the finals at the hands of Northern Tigers.

The Central Coast Mariners would like to congratulate the men’s and women’s academy programs for successful seasons and representing our region so proudly.

Sydney Olympic Women 3 Central Coast Mariners Academy 1

The Central Coast Mariners Women have ended a hugely successful season with a Grand Final loss to Minor Premiership winners, Sydney Olympic in the Premier Leagues NSW 2 Women’s Grand Final at Valentine Sports Park.

A first half strike to Lieke De Bever opened the proceedings for the Premiers then Lily Chen turned home the ball from close range to put Olympic in a dominant position at half-time.

However the Central Coast Mariners looked dangerous in attack who had their chances to claim the crown.

15-year-old Iona Snape grew into the contest and drilled home a late consolation goal in the 88th minute. Earlier, Jordan Evans had a chance from the spot but a superb double save denied her.

Mariners coach Dan Barrett did concede that this was a learning experience that the squad will take in line for the 2019 season.

Melissa Swinfield almost carved out a shot before Olympic ‘keeper Amanda Horafios made the save.

The first goal fell to Sydney Olympic’s main striker, Dutch born Lieke De Bever, who found enough space at the edge of the area to fire a powerful effort home to make it 1-0.

The Mariners then came alive as Jordan Evans thrashed wide then they were denied by the crossbar. The Mariners started to find both Iona Snape and Evans more space on the ball in the front third.

Just before the break, Sydney Olympic doubled their advantage. A delightful cross from the right was turned home by Lily Chen to make it 2-0 at the break.

The Central Coast Mariners came out firing in the second half.

They started to find more urgency on the ball, racking up the corners and delivering some dangerous crosses putting constant pressure on the Olympic defence.

However, against the run of play Chen smashed an effort into the net and it was 3-nil for Olympic.

But that wouldn’t deter the Mariners who continued to fight and Snape was fouled in the box which gave them a route into the contest. Evans stepped up, and was denied twice by Horafios as Olympic looked hungrier to avenge their previous Grand Final defeats.

Snape continued to bustle down the wing, created a chance for Gabrielle Blanch, but the skipper fired her effort just wide.

Snape got some reward for her energy late in the piece. She rallied past a pair of defenders before slotting home calmly to make it 3-1. Her goal brought a late flurry of chances for Mariners but they just couldn’t convert.

For Central Coast Mariners Barrett stated that Sydney Olympic were more clinical but it will serve as an important lesson for his side heading into the future.

“We had some really good chances but we couldn’t find the back of the net. We got beat by three clinical strikes from Olympic and that was the difference tonight.

“It wasn’t the prettiest of games and Grand Finals never are. It was a good contest but their clinical nature was the difference.

“We’ll get better for this. The girls will come back bigger and better, hopefully next season we’re having a different conversation.” finished Barrett.

Match Stats
Sunday 2 September 2018
Valentine Sports Park #1, Glenwood
Sydney Olympic FC 3
Central Coast Mariners 1

Sydney Olympic FC: 3. MIRKOVIC Madeleine (43. DOWSE ‘57), 4. BARHAM Deidre (15. TSOUPIS ‘61), 6. HALASKA Kate, 7. CALVI Danielle, 9. COSTANZO Madelaine, 10. DE BEVER Lieke, 11. ROHRER Kristy, 12. CHEN Lily (21. HOWARD ‘86), 14. AMBERG Amanda, 18. KUNOVSKI Kristy, 20. HORAFIOS Amanda,

Unused subs: 17. KHOURY Hanna Lee, 36. SAADE Sihaem

Central Coast Mariners: 1. HINES Rhiannon, 2. BLANCH Gabrielle, 3. SWINFIELD Melissa, 7. EVANS Jordan, 8. LITTERICK Kirby, 9. EYERS Haylie (5. OLIVEIRA ‘72), 10. MCATEMNEY Jade, 11. SHORTER Elizabeth, 13. MURPHY Kaitlin (32. BRYANT ‘60), 25. SNAPE Iona, 35. DAVIS Georgia

Unused subs: 21. TUCKER Mikala, 23. DEARIE Cheyenne, 50. BRADBURY Maddison

Yellow cards: Swinfield ‘85

Central Coast Mariners Academy 1 (William) Northern Tigers 2 (Mcconaghy & Ferrier)

Northern Tigers claimed victory in the first Elimination Semi Final on Saturday at Valentine Sports Park 

It was a tight affair for the entirety of the match however Tigers claimed majority of possession in the first half.

Defensively, the Mariners kept their structure and nullified the Tigers’ attacks. Pearce was looking strong and confident in between the sticks for the Yellow and Navy, making his presence known from incoming crosses.

For the opening goal, the Mariners turned over possession and Tigers pounced. They immediately counter attacked playing in Mcconaghy he drove into the box and fired into the bottom far corner.

With some tactical adjustments the Mariners began to find their feet. Smylie moved into a more central position and looked to be the man to make the difference when he went close with a snap shot after a long throw was knocked down into his path.

Pearce then picked out Smylie with a great pass, who raced towards goal and with his delicate chipped through ball for William it was knocked into the hands of the defender and the whistle was blown, penalty. The spot-kick was converted by William to make it 1-1.

Full of confidence, the Mariners pressed on and Peters went achingly close twice in the space of a minute. He was found in space wide in the box and fired a shot aimed at the top corner but Liiband made a great diving save. Then from the resulting corner the ball scrambled about and fell to Peters who snapped a volley just over the bar.

As you thought the whistle would be blown for half-time the game changed again in the blink of an eye when the Tigers were awarded a penalty that was converted by Ferrier to give his side a 2-1 lead at the break.

Returning from the field the Mariners caught a break early in the second half when Craig was given his second yellow reducing the Tigers to 10 men.

Needing to bring some pace and excitement into their attack, the Mariners brought on Hatch who looked to make an immediate impact. Some great interplay down the wing had him screaming along the sideline and cutting back only for a last ditch sliding save to deny him a goal scoring opportunity.

Mariners enjoyed majority of the possession but Tigers had adjusted well and set up a solid defensive line cramping space and breaking down attack after attack making it very difficult for Mariners to find a way through

As injury time ticked it’s last second, the Mariners threw the dice for the last time, Faust whipped in a cross to the head of Vinci but was unable to direct it past Liiband, who smothered the ball sealing the game for Tigers.

Good luck to our Premiership winning U18’s & U20’s who are in action this weekend.

Central Coast Mariners Academy: A. Abdullah, B. Belkadi, Q. Cheng, N. Faust, M. Glassock, M. Hatch, K. Johnson, L. Miller, J. Nisbet, M. Paz, A. Pearce, E. Peters, J. Smylie, A. Vinci, C. William, A. Munford

Northern Tigers: A. Brown, J. Craig, L. Dawson, J. Ferrier, W. Foristal, M. Glanville, A. Hancock, N. Kalogerou, L. Lloyd, L. Mcconaghy, Z. Morris, J. Tanner, A. Tayebi Derazkala, B. Taylor, O. Wiggin,T. Liiband