Western NSW Mariners FC created more than enough chances to walk away from Bathurst’s Proctor Park with a win over the APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC on Sunday afternoon.
They didn’t take them though.
Ultimately the home side succumbed 1-nil to the women’s State League competition leaders, a side with just one loss to its name.
In the end, a 10th minute goal from Leichhardt’s Lucy Gilfedder was the difference.
The result leaves the Mariners in fifth, making next week’s clash with 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.
APIA made several dangerous breaks down their right wing but the Mariners defence was always up for the challenge.
Western began to find some space in the second half and it didn’t take long for the home side to make some threatening moves.
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.
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.
Minutes later Western’s Kallie Sargent found herself in a position to score, but couldn’t convert.
Inside the final quarter of the game Jasmin Courtenay whipped in a nice cross but, as with Courtney’s earlier attempt, it drifted across the face of goal.
The best chance for the Mariners to score came close to the 80th minute, but Courtney was unable to get a shot away on a first touch just metres away from the APIA net.
“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,” Payne said.
“[Leichhardt] came [to Bathurst] on the back of a loss to St George, and that was their first loss, so they would have been hurting from that.”
Western has four rounds left to book their spot in the top four.