Badawiya strikes as Mariners gain hard-earned point against Melbourne City

Central Coast Mariners Women gained a hard-earned point at home to Melbourne City in the Liberty A-League on Friday evening.

Emily Husband was looking for a reaction from last week’s defeat in Western Sydney, and she made two changes to the starting eleven as Sarah Langman and Faye Bryson returned in place of Casey Dumont and Annabel Martin.

An intriguing tactical battle in the first half saw City largely dominate possession, but struggle to really test Langman in the Mariners goal, and it was indeed the hosts who came closest to the opener.

On 20 minutes, some great work down the right from Bryson lead to Taylor Otto almost converting in to her own goal, but after her sliced clearance came back off the inside of the post, Leia Varley cleared off the line to spare her teammates blushes.

City’s best chance of the half came on 36 minutes when Hannah Wilkinson’s cross was met by Rhianna Pollicina, but she couldn’t keep her effort down and it clipped the top of Langman’s crossbar.

On 40 minutes, a fantastic counter attack from the Mariners saw Wurigumula release Badawiya down the right, she cut the ball back to Wurigumula who scuffed her shot into the path of Bianca Galic, but she was denied by a strong save from Lysianne Proulx.

Galic saw another effort saved before the break, after a surging run down the right she drilled a shot at goal but it was held by Proulx.

Mariners took that momentum into the second half and could’ve been ahead less than a minute after the restart. Wurigumula with the chance less after a strong run down the left from Jazmin Wardlow, but our number nine didn’t catch it as she would’ve liked.

The breakthrough came on 53 minutes though and Badawiya got the goal that her typically energetic performance deserved. 

A perfectly weighted pass from Isabel Gomez put Badawiya through on goal and she calmly lofted the ball over the on-rushing Proulx to open the scoring.

It could’ve been two for the American just minutes later as she saw her shot after a scramble in the box, somehow kept out by City.

The visitors responded after that, Emina Ekic had a chance which she dragged wide, before Langman made the save of the game, somehow keeping out a glaring chance from close range. 

City did grab an equaliser through on 78 minutes as Rebekah Stott’s long range effort sailed into the top corner and left Langman with no chance. 

It was an end-to-end finish as both teams went in search of the win. Ekic had a goal ruled out for offside on 83 minutes before Wurigumula almost won it late on but just couldn’t keep her effort down from Badawiya’s cross. 

In the end, Mariners had to settle for a hard-earned point and Husband was left pleased with the response from last week and a strong performance against a side at the top end of the table. 

Attention now turns to next week’s away trip to Canberra United.