Victory women outgunned
Michelle Heyman's brace has helped Central Coast to a hard-fought 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory at Sydney's Leichhardt Oval on Saturday.
Goal machine Michelle Heyman's brace has helped Central Coast to a hard-fought 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory at Sydney's Leichhardt Oval on Saturday.
The two strikes in each half bring the lethal striker's season tally to ten goals and were just reward for a Mariners' outfit that toiled hard against a physical Melbourne Victory.
Veteran midfielder Kelly Golebiowski was outstanding in a yellow shirt while American import Kendall Fletcher was solid all day for the Coast.
For Victory, Monique Hansen-Kofoed worked hard in the visitor's engine-room and was a constant threat with her creativity from midfield and willingness to shoot from distance.
A tight opening spell was brought to life on 27 minutes with a wonderful goal. After Mariners keeper Jillian Loyden did well to keep out a Victory corner, the US import released Golebiowski just inside her own half.
The dynamic midfielder ran through the Victory defence in a mazy run before releasing Heyman who finished a move that began in Central Coast's six-yard box.
Heyman's ninth goal of the season gave the Mariners a lift and just before the half-time break Matildas keeper Melissa Barbieri made a crucial save from Ashleigh Connor to prevent the lead blowing out to two.
Central Coast began the second half on the offensive in conditions considerably cooler than earlier in the day with a committed Heyman charging down a Barbieri clearance which almost resulted in a deflected goal.
It was warning that wasn't heeded by the Victory and two minutes later the Coast goal machine latched onto a through ball and rounded Barbieri to make it 2-0 for her tenth goal of the season.
On 70 minutes Golebiowski had a chance to kill off the game but her low shot from just inside the box went inches past Barbieri's right-hand post.
In a further blow to Victory, Dianna Neceski was carried off on 75 minutes after a heavy challenge. She remained off the park for ten minutes before returning.
In the final stages of the game, Hansen-Kofoed had a good chance but her low cross was deflected for a corner and it was her brilliant through ball that found Katie Thorlakson, who smashed her shot straight at Mariners' keeper Loyden.
Despite Victory's best efforts, they could not find a way past the Mariners who recorded a deserved win that keeps the pressure on league leader Brisbane Roar.
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Heyman 27, 52) Melbourne Victory 0 @ Leichhardt Oval