WESTERN NSW Mariners FC had plenty of opportunities to walk away from Proctor Park with a win over women’s State League leaders APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC on Sunday but succumbed to a 1-0 loss.
A goal from the Tigers’ Lucy Gilfedder in the 10th minute was all that separated the two teams.
The result puts the Mariners in fifth place and makes next week’s match against SD Raiders an even more crucial contest than it originally was.
“It could have gone either way. They got a lucky break on us in the first half to get their goal. From then on I didn’t think they were that much better than us,” Mariners coach Jason Payne said.
“At times sloppy passing, trying to play out but finding their players, didn’t help us. We didn’t have a full strength side to play them either.
Following Gilfedder’s goal the Tigers enjoyed the better share of field position for the remainder of the first half.
They got a lucky break on us in the first half to get their goal. From then on I didn’t think they were that much better than us.Jason Payne
APIA made several dangerous breaks down their right wing but the Mariners defence was always up for the challenge.
Mariners began to find some space in the second half and it didn’t take long for the home side to make some threatening moves.
In the opening minutes of the new period Teegan Courtney made a break down the right sideline and sent in a pinpoint cross to the box.
The ball somehow went through a cluster of players from both sides and failed to find the back of the net.
Just a matter of minutes later the Mariners’ Kallie Sargent wound up with the ball close to the Tigers’ goal but was unable to turn and get a shot away.
Inside the final quarter of the game Jasmin Courtenay whipped in a nice cross but, as with Courtney’s earlier attempt, drifted across the face of goal.
The best chance for the Mariners to score came close to the 80th minute when Courtney was unable to get a shot away on a first touch just metres away from the APIA net.
The visitors also weren’t without their chances to score.
Gilfedder found a gap in the Mariners defence in the dying stages of the game to find herself in a one-on-one situation but her shot went straight to the goalkeeper.
Mariners have only been able to find a single point from their three matches this season (a 2-all draw and a pair of 2-0 defeats).
Payne said his side expected a determined Tigers outfit to make the trip to Bathurst.
“I don’t think our girls were that much outclassed. Credit were it’s due for APIA though. They’ve gone through pretty much their entire season with win after win after win,” he said.
“They’ve come here today off the back of a loss to St George, and that was their first loss, so they would have been hurting from that.”
Mariners have four matches remaining to try and book their spot in the top four.