Mariners keep ball rolling

In a good day for the Central Coast Mariners, the club's Westfield W-League side proved too good for Perth Glory in a 2-1 win at Clipsal Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

In a good day for the Central Coast Mariners, the club's Westfield W-League side proved too good for Perth Glory in a 2-1 win at Clipsal Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

While the Mariners' seniors were on the other side of the continent, belting Melbourne Victory to all corners of Etihad Stadium, the women's team extended its own unbeaten run to three matches as it scored the opening two goals either side of the break, through Lydia Vandenbergh and Michelle Heyman.

The Glory pulled one back just after the hour via some slick work from Marianna Tabain but failed to turn some promising late attacks into an equaliser.

The result sees Central Coast consolidate second on the Westfield W-League table, three points behind leader Brisbane Roar, although third-placed Sydney FC has the opportunity to overtake the Mariners when it plays Melbourne on Sunday.

For the Glory, it's the club's second consecutive loss after last weekend's 6-0 thrashing by the Roar. But the Perth women still maintain fifth on the table while coach John Gibson will be happy with the grit his side demonstrated, considering it was without injured key midfielder Collette McCallum.

Gibson sprang a surprise, however, with his initial team selection, opting to start Australian players Lisa De Vanna, who was returning from a one-match suspension, and Ella Mastrantonio on the bench as he looked to manage some niggling injuries the pair have picked up.

Despite their absence, the Glory caused havoc in the Mariners' box within the first minute through a well-flighted corner before Central Coast slipped into its groove nicely.

While the Glory players were struggling to hold onto possession, the Mariners looked slick and sharp as the impressive Ashleigh O'Connor saw an eighth-minute snap shot saved by Emma Wirkus.

It was O'Connor, though, who started the move in the 20th minute that led to Central Coast's opener, as she picked up a poor defensive clearance and slipped a great throughball to Heyman on the right, whose cross was converted by Vandenbergh.

Having weathered the early storm somewhat, Glory coach Gibson introduced Mastrantonio in the 35th minute and De Vanna just before the break and it proved just the tonic Perth needed to apply some pressure to the Mariners' defence.

Five minutes into the second half, De Vanna accelerated towards goal to get one-on-one with Central Coast stopper Jillian Loyden. But De Vanna sliced her powerful effort too wide and didn't even test the goalkeeper.

The missed chance proved costly as the Mariners extended their lead seven minutes later when an alert Heyman sped onto a weakly hit backpass from Glory skipper Tanya Oxtoby in defence, racing through on goal and burying the finish past Wirkus.

But the Glory soon made a contest of it as Tabain found the back of the net just after the hour, the youngster latching onto a loose ball in attack and slipping the ball home.

The Glory were dominating possession by now but lacked the killer passes of their opponents as Central Coast's Kelly Golebiowski fired an effort wide four minutes later while O'Connor missed two gilt-edged chances late on.

The right winger saw one effort hit the bar with eight minutes to go, while she scuffed a shot from 15 metres out five minutes later with the goal at her mercy.

Despite some solid late work from the Glory as they looked to pinch a point, the hosts never really threatened Central Coast's goal as the Mariners finished off a solid performance with the three points.

Perth Glory 1 (Tabain 63) Central Coast Mariners 2 (Vandenbergh 20, Heyman 57)