Mariners defeat Adelaide despite late charge

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Central Coast Mariners have survived a late challenge from Adelaide United to record the club’s first win since 2009 after rejoining the Liberty A-League for the 2023-24 Liberty A-League season.

Captain Taren King scored the Mariners’ first goal of the season before Chinese international Wurigumula doubled the advantage shortly after half-time. Reds defender Ella Tonkin halved the deficit with just over 20 minutes left on the clock, but the visiting Mariners held firm to record a 2-1 win, responding in style to an opening-round defeat to Newcastle Jets.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA – OCTOBER 20: Ella Tonkin of Adelaide United Celebrates a goal with Alana Jancevski of Adelaide United during the A-League Women round 2 match between Adelaide United v Central Coast Mariners at Coopers Stadium, on October 20, 2023, in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Sarah Reed/Getty Images)

The Mariners dominated early proceedings with scholarship signing Claudia Jenkins performing valiantly in goal for the Reds; Jenkins was called into multiple early saves as the visitors ramped up the forward pressure.

But then came a chance against the grain, forged by an incisive reverse pass by Adelaide recruit Alana Jancevski; her through pass was met by Rosetta Taylor in the box, who rounded the keeper before Mariners defender Ashley Irwin slid in to smother the shot on goal, collecting a knee to the head for her troubles.

Chances were otherwise few and far between for the home side, and when the Mariners got back on top, they made their dominance count with the opening goal scored by captain Taren King with a brave header in the box. King was clattered by Jenkins rushing off her line in an attempt to deal with a corner routine, but King got her head to the ball first to loop her attempt over the line, despite Ella Tonkin’s best efforts to clear.

Central Coast’s dominance continued into the second half. Chinese international striker Wurigumula had two quick-fire chances soon after the break, before breaking through in the 56th minute with a goal scored off an Isabel Gomez cross to double the lead.

At 2-0 the Mariners looked set to cruise to their first win in the 2023-24 season, until a goal out of the blue gave Adelaide a lifeline. It came in the form of a close-rang Ella Tonkin finish off the back of a classy training ground move, with a corner fed to the edge of the box for Dylan Holmes to pick a first-time pass into the box for Sarah Morgan to set up Tonkin at the back post.

But the Mariners managed to stave off the fast-finishing Adelaide, preserving their one-goal lead to win in the Liberty A-League for the first time since November 27, 2009.

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