Sydney women clinch top spot

Sydney FC finished the Westfield W-League regular season in top spot with a 1-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Sydney FC finished the Westfield W-League regular season in top spot with a 1-0 win over the Central Coast Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Sky Blues were sitting in third spot with two weeks remaining but overtook Brisbane and then Central Coast in the final rounds.

A Leena Khamis strike late in the first half was all it took for Sydney to gain its most vital three points of the season.

Sydney FC coach Alen Stajcic said winning the championship was a just reward for a consistent season.

"I thought we were the better side for large portions of the game," Stajcic said.

"But we should have shut it down earlier than we did."

The home side started the match well, with some enterprising work from American import Lydia Vandenburgh.

The experienced attacker took a quick free kick that went just over the crossbar after 10 minutes, while she also took a shot 10 minutes later from long range that was tipped away by Sydney keeper Nikola Deiter to force a corner.

Mariners coach Stephen Roche would have been clamouring for half time to come around after the visitors broke the deadlock through Khamis in the 34th minute.

Sydney FC lifted immediately and almost had a second within three minutes, when Sarah Walsh missed a one-on-one chance.

The home side went into a huddle just before the second half kicked off but certainly didn't have the better of the early stages, with Sydney camped in its half.

Sydney continued to dominate, with eight shots to one in the first 20 minutes of the second half.

But Mariners striker Michelle Heyman wasn't going down without a fight, despite being heavily marked.

Heyman had a string of solid attacking raids in the second half, first down the right, then left, through the middle and the left again, all to no avail.

The home side's urgency lifted in the final 20 minutes, as did the Mariners' cheers in the crowd.

But there was no comeback from the home side, with the Sydney defence holding firm despite plenty of pressure from the Mariners.

Central Coast Mariners coach Stephen Roche didn't think the loss would have too much of a negative impact on his players ahead of the finals.

"Beware the wounded bull," Roche said.

Sydney 1 (Khamis 35) Central Coast 0 @ Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford. Crowd: approx 800.