Central Coast Mariners Women completed an impressive double over Wellington Pheonix, winning 2-1 at Leichhardt Oval on the opening night of Unite Round.
Goals from Rola Badawiya and Peta Trimis saw the Mariners come from behind to take all three points, which takes them up to seventh in the table, with a game in hand on some of the current top six sides.
Emily Husband named an attacking line up, with three changes. Trimis and Shadeene Evans came in for Page Hayward and Annabel Martin, to form a strong front four with Wurigumala and Badawiya.
Tiarna Karambasis also came into the starting line up in place of injured Taren King, meaning Bianca Galic captained the side.
It was a nightmare start though for the Mariners as Wellington’s Emma Main capitalised on a mistake at the back to give them a 1-0 lead just three minutes in.
The Mariners would respond brilliantly though and went on to dominate the majority of the game, with some fine attacking play on show throughout.
Rylee Foster produced smart saves to deny Trimis and Galic before the 20 minute mark, but it wouldn’t be long before the Mariners found a way past her for an equaliser.
On 23 minutes, Badawiya twisted the Wellington defence inside and out before slotting into the bottom corner to level the scores. Her fourth of the campaign.
🚜 Steam-ROLA! 🚜— Paramount+ Australia (@ParamountPlusAU) January 12, 2024
Rola Badawiya takes on the Wellington Phoenix defence to find the equaliser for @CCMariners!
Rola ALSO goes down as the player who secures goal number FIFTY for the CCM @aleaguewomen team 🌴
Game on in #WELvCCM– make sure you're tuning in on Paramount+ pic.twitter.com/kIfKnzwQUl
The attacking team selection was paying dividends for Husband, as the game was being played almost completely in the Wellington half.
On 34 minutes, some great work from Izzy Gomez in midfield won the ball back, before Shadeene Evans slotted a fantastic pass through to Trimis who advanced on goal and made no mistake, calmly slotting past Foster.
Husband made two changes at half time as Hayward and Martin replaced Wurigumala and Jazmin Wardlow.
Hayward was involved straight away as she tested Foster with her first touch of the ball, a low strike from 25 yards.
Wellington came back at Mariners after what was presumably a stern half time talking to from Paul Temple, who was visibly frustrated at his sides first half showing.
Michaela Foster forced Dumont into a save down to her right, and on 55 minutes, in a scramble from a corner, the ball was miraculously kept out of the Mariners goal thanks to a heroic double-block on the line from Faye Bryson.
After the hour mark, Mariners managed to seize control back on the game. Hayward connected nicely with an effort from range but it was straight down the throat of Foster, as we looked to extend our lead.
Substitute Annalise Rasmussen had a great chance to seal the game, more fantastic work from Gomez who won the ball on the edge of her own box before driving forward and finding Trimis, she squared to Rasmussen but Foster kept herself big and made a strong save.
Our number 11 had another chance to wrap the game up on 87 minutes, after some fantastic work from Galic to create the chance, Rasmussen saw her effort blocked from close range.
The Mariners defence held out as Wellington had a late push for an equaliser, seeing out the win to complete the double over Wellington and move up to seventh in the Liberty A-League.
Mark Jackson’s Mens team will hope to follow suit tomorrow, as their Unite Round fixture sees them face league leaders Melbourne Victory at Allianz Stadium, kick-off 5:15.
Your next chance to see our Women’s side in action is Wednesday evening, as we are back at Leichhardt to face Sydney FC, before the team return home for our huge double header next Sunday at Industree Group Stadium!