Mariners, Canberra deadlocked

The Central Coast Mariners and Canberra United played out a tough one-all draw in their round six Westfield W League clash at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.

The Central Coast Mariners and Canberra United played out a tough one-all draw in their round six Westfield W League clash at Canberra Stadium on Saturday.

With both sides coming off convincing wins in round five, players were looking to get early points on the board and lead strongly in the first half.

Canberra put the pressure on early when Ellie Brush converted a penalty in the third minute after Ashleigh Sykes was brought down in the box.

Canberra's dominance of the midfield continued early with some terrific passing and keen tackling - depriving the Central Coast of the chance to level the match into the 10th minute.

Central Coast showed promise throughout the first half with various attempts at goal and their patience paid off in the 20th minute when the ball deflected off United player Chiung Ying Lin and floated into goal after a courageous attempt from the wing from Central Coast's Kendall Fletcher.

The Mariners were denied the chance to take the lead in the 22nd minute when United Keeper Lydia Williams made a high save after a Mariners free kick.

In the 25th min the Central Coast almost goaled again but a tricky tackle from Lin kept them out of goal. The same tackle unfortunately saw Lin taken off on a stretcher.

Keepers on both sides showed moments of brilliance after some potentially dangerous surges from the forwards - the closest coming after a Central Coast corner in the 35th minute was readily deflected back into play by Williams but couldn't be nudged back in by the Mariners.

Canberra forward O Tseng's quick feet were dangerous down the wing late in the first half, however, her crosses to the centre weren't backed up and the scores remained one a piece at half time.

Tensions remained high at the beginning of the second half with both sides pressing to crack the deadlock. A surge down the field from O Tseng in the 46th minute gave United an early boost and a scare for the Mariners who proceeded to keep play focused and settled.

Possession of the ball stayed even into the 61st minute when Ashleigh Sykes almost put in a cross from United's Kahlia Hogg. The 63rd minute saw O Tseng's fast feet feature again making a clean break down the field, but the chance was lost when her pass to Ashleigh Sykes was called off side. United's hunger for possession was strong but their attempts at goal continued to go askew.

The Mariners were also keen to gain possession and looked close to netting various attempts in the later stages of the second half, but these were quickly denied by Williams.

The 75th minute saw play settle again and the frustration of the one all score line bring out some fraught attempts to set up goal scoring opportunities. A Canberra corner in the 83rd minute fell to feet with the shot going wide and Canberra's elusive chance to take the upper hand was denied once again.

Players seemed fatigued in the later stages of the second half with possession switching between both sides and as the minutes ticked by the attempts and misses at goal became more prevalent.

It was the Mariners who shone in the final minutes with Lydia Vandenbergh making a clean break toward goal only to be denied by the ever reliable Williams. Another attempt in the final minute saw Ashleigh Cooper caught just offside and the final whistle blew with scores hung at one apiece.

United forward Grace Gill said the team was happy to come away with the competition points but a win for the team was doable.

"I think we played well enough that we could have come away with a win, we created plenty of opportunities for ourselves, we had a lot of chances to shoot and score," she said.

"They are a solid side, very physical so it was hard in that sense, but we did pretty well overall."

Mariners Coach Steve Roche said the aim of the day for his team was to walk away with the three points.

"The goal early in the game made it a little bit difficult," he said

"I'm pretty disappointed, I think we could have killed the game off in the first half."

Canberra United 1 (Brush 3m) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Fletcher 20m) At Canberra Stadium