Inter Lions 6 (J.Scott 3, N.Caridad 2, H.Macbeth)
UNSW 1 (L.Beiglari)
Inter Lions moved into fourth spot on the ladder with a convincing 6-1 win over UNSW. Inter were missing five regular first graders through injury. Coach Joe Baldacci opted for a defensive game plan because of these changes.
However, upon discovering a UNSW side that was still shell shocked from last week?s hammering at the hands of Illawarra, Baldacci changed tack and let his side loose. Jenny Scott opened the scoring for Inter in just the 9th minute but, despite an avalanche of opportunities thereafter, the Lions girls had to be content with a 1-0 half time lead. Inter came out firing for the second stanza with Hayley Macbeth hitting a superb right footer into the back of the net soon after the resumption.
Niki Caridad then grabbed a brace for Inter in the 52nd and 66th minutes before Scott completed a well taken hat trick with goals in the 81st and 85th minutes. UNSW got a consolation goal through Beiglari but the Uni girls have now conceded 21 goals in two games.
Inter Coach Baldacci was thrilled with the efforts of all his charges, being especially pleased with the passing build up that lead to Scott?s final two goals. Inter are certainly on the move and run into Southern NSW FC next weekend in Nowra. UNSW are in dire straits and will be hoping to find some salvation next weekend against a Bankstown Wildcats side that is struggling to get back into the winner?s list.
St George FC 5 (A.Hill 2, A.Paleris, L.Gardner, C.Arnold)
Bankstown Wildcats 1 (O.Avramidis)
In the two remaining matches St George put up a strong performance to hammer Bankstown Wildcats 5-1. St George conceded the first goal when Bankstown?s Olympia Avramidis scored in the 12th minute but had grabbed a 3-1 lead by half time with goals by Hill (2) and Paleris. From there they were never headed, adding goals by Gardner and Arnold in the 63rd and 65th minutes respectively.
Bankstown, after a promising start to the season, have now slumped to three losses in a row. St George are an honest side and sit just outside the top four. They would hope to continue their climb upwards with maximum points from their encounter with a struggling UNSW next weekend.
Western NSW Panthers 2 (G.Roscini 2)
Blacktown Spartans 0
Finally Western NSW Panthers remain undefeated in second place after a home win over Blacktown Spartans. Gillian Rosconi continued her goal scoring feats for the locals with a double in the 20th and 25th minutes.
The Panthers can?t do much more than what they have so far and are still to concede a goal after 5 rounds. Something?s obviously working for the Bathurst girls. Do they have enough to take it all the way?
Illawarra Stingrays 4 (M.Heyman 2, Danyi, C. Halloway)
Southern NSW FC 2 (K.French, E.Dowse)
In other action around the grounds of the Arrive Alive NSW Womens Super League table toppers Illawarra continued on their winning way but not before some anxious moments against Southern NSW FC.
The locals opened the scoring in the 18th minute through French before Cassie Halloway equalised for The Stingrays in the 31st minute. A half time scoreline of 1-1 is not something we?ve come to associate with The Stingrays Michelle Heyman and one half of the Danyi ?Twinnies? added goals before Southern closed to 3-2 through Dowse. Heyman slotted her second soon after though to make the game safe. A 4-2 win to Illawarra.
So the three leading sides in the competition retain their unbeaten tag. Illawarra are the goal scoring machine of the Arrive Alive NSW Womens Super League. Western NSW Panthers are the team with the impregnable defence. Gladesville look ?tradesmenlike? and teams in that style are always dangerous. St George and Inter Lions look the improvers. The others are battling to stay in the race. But wait; there are 13 rounds to go! Illawarra definitely deserve the tag of favourites at this early stage but is there a hurdle looming? Maybe Gladesville can test the Stingrays mettle next weekend. Stay tuned!
Match of the Round
Gladesville Ravens v Northern Tigers
Gladesville Ravens came into this match as one of three undefeated sides in the Arrive Alive NSW Womens Super League. They?ve impressed a number of keen judges with their play, especially defensively.
The only dent in their march up the ladder so far has been a 0-0 draw in Bathurst with second placed Western NSW Panthers. The Northern Tigers, on the other hand, had little to show for some gritty performances until last week?s win over Southern NSW FC. Was that to be the start of a Tigers resurgence or just a momentary glimpse of Utopia? This match was certainly poised to answer a question or two.
Referee Nick Ritchie blew the whistle to commence the match in calm but cool conditions at Peel Park. The early exchanges saw Gladesville pushing forward with some structure but the final passes weren?t quite finding their mark. The Tigers seemed to be relying on putting longer balls at the Ravens defensive line at every opportunity. The Ravens defence though was looking quite composed with Freyja Meere pulling all the strings. Offensively Hannah Vousden was very prominent for Gladesville.
The first real shot on goal for the match came in the 11th minute when Alyssa Hardie hit high and wide for Gladesville. Alyssa followed this up shortly after with a nice ball to her team mate Ashleigh Smith but Smith?s shot lacked any power and went straight to Tigers keeper Samantha May. Ravens were looking most likely to score at this stage and a 14th minute break by Courtenay Parrott led to a shot from wide on the right going over the bar.
Frustration set in for Hardie though when she was yellow carded in the 15th minute for dissent.
Northern Tigers were trying to gain a foothold but we?re struggling to maintain possession. Captain Rosemary Toner was holding the good ship Tigers together at the back but Ravens continued to look threatening. Tigers finally got a free kick after a foul by Ravens Captain Ashley Hume on Tigers Evelyne Marango. Toner?s kick into the box caused an anxious moment or two for Ravens but was eventually cleared.
Soon after an attempted clearance by Toner is headed back into the edge of the box by Hannah Vousden. However, the shot on goal by Ravens striker Smith goes meekly to the keeper.
Another deflected shot by Ravens leads to successive Gladesville corners but Tigers are able to hold their line intact. A good interchange of passing by Hardie, Smith and Vousden for Ravens falls down when the ball is lost on the edge of the Tigers area.
Gradually Northern Tigers start to work their way into the match. A nice pass by Marango puts Gabriella Dal Pozza into space but the Gladesville defence manages to close her down.
From a throw in Del Pozza dispossesses Meere her shot goes straight to Ravens keeper Claire Cherrington. Happy Birthday Claire! Tigers continue to press the Gladesville defence with Georgie Eastoe winning her side a corner.
The resulting kick flies straight through the goal mouth to Rachael Lewis who shoots into the side netting. In the 28th minute Tigers create another opportunity through Dal Pozza but her shooting radar is wide again. The Northern Tigers have stepped up the pace considerably and are low looking very competitive.
Rosemary Toner is forced to come to the rescue after Gladesville intercept a loose pass sending Smith towards goal. Toner?s challenge is too strong however and another chance goes begging. The 35th minute sees a long ball from Ravens Fatma Agar knocked down to Ashleigh Smith who gives Melissa Fornito a chance that?s hit wide.
The Tigers reply with some good work by Eastoe and Dal Pozza followed up by Rachael Lewis dispossessing Ravens defender Leanne Sharp before shooting to keeper Cherrington. Lewis is starting to come into her own with some decisive runs. She gets around Sharp again but her quality shot is well saved by birthday girl Cherrington. The resulting corner brings a ballooning shot from Tigers that sails high and wide of The Ravens goal.
Ravens create a chance of their own with Hardie intercepting a poor pass from Marango. Hardie races into the box by her shot brings a tremendous diving save from keeper May.
The 40th minute sees the stalemate broken when Agar returns a nice header from a Tigers goal kick. The ball falls to the feet of Ashleigh Smith who bursts into the area, shoots and sees the ball deflect from the diving keeper into the net. It?s 1-0 to Ravens.
Tigers try to hit back immediately with a good run from Eastoe ending with a side footed shot that is disarmed easily by the Gladesville keeper.
Tigers then lay a ball back from the edge of the semi circle to Melanie Baird whose powerful shot from distance goes wide.
At the end of the half Ravens break again through Parrott. Tigers seem to have closed the danger down but possession goes back to Ravens with Agar hitting s shot across the face of goal and out of reach of a diving May. The whistle blows for half time with The Ravens holding a 1-0 advantage.
The opening minutes of the second half become a battle for supremacy. The Tigers Rachael Lewis continues to cause the defence plenty of headaches whilst Dal Pozza lurks dangerously in her attacking role. A good interchange of passing sees Lewis hit a lovely ball to the centre of the area but a charging Cherrington arrives a split second before the Tigers attack.
At the 53rd minute Aleshea Bird is subbed for Katherine Turner by Ravens.
Hardie is still shining for Ravens and soon after dispossesses the defence yet again. She runs in to shoot but her strike is held by the keeper after an initial fumble.
Tigers hit back though in the 55th minute when Ravens fail to close down an attacking raid. The ball falls to Eastoe who?s shot from outside the box sails over Cherrington?s head into the back of the net. Great goal and it?s 1-1.
Tigers look for another one with Lewis breaking after a through ball. Cherrington is not afraid to patrol the full extent of her 18 yard box though and races to the edge to clear.
Georgie Eastoe has really come to the fore in the second half and is testing the composure of the Ravens defence. Lewis makes another run, finds Dal Pozza with her pass but the Tigers striker cannot control the ball. After a Gladesville raid through Hardie and Parrott is foiled Tigers break quickly with that girl Eastoe again bringing a diving save from keeper Cherrington.
Soon after Ashley Hulme picks up a yellow card after disagreeing with a decision by referee Ritchie. The ensuing free kick to Tigers by Toner is hit straight to the keeper.
In the 64th minute Hardie makes yet another run for Gladesville. She?s proving too big and fast for the Tigers defence.
As she cuts inside she lays the ball back to Ashley Hulme who hits a thundering shot from 25 metres for a cracking goal. It?s 2-1 to Gladesville. What a strike! Gladesville Coach Paul Wade would have been happy with that one!
Eastoe continues to try and lift her team with some determined running. A fine dash leads to a Tigers corner but Eastoe?s header from the dead ball situation sails over the bar.
The game ebbs and flows as Tigers try to equalise and Ravens look for the clincher. In the 74th minute that girl Hardie is at it again. Her fine run sees her linking up with Smith who loses control of the ball. However, Courtenay Parrott is on the spot to regain, shoot and find the top right hand corner of the net to give Ravens a 3-1 lead.
The Tigers are pulling out all stops now. Eastoe and Bergheklof combine but the defence closes the raid down on the by line.
In the 78th minute The Tigers sub Melanie Baird with Kyla Brunete and push Toner up into a midfield role. Soon after Hardie creates herself another chance but finds keeper May?s safe hands. Melissa Fornito, who?s had a busy game, takes a shot from wide and deep but keeper May is again up to the task.
Toner pushes a free kick wide of target for Northern Tigers. The Tigers don?t give up with Eastoe and Lewis continuing to probe but it?s to no avail with the referee blowing the final whistle for Ravens to run out 3-1 winners.
Ravens Coach Paul Wade echoed the lament of many a girls/ladies football coach (this reporter included!).
In Wade?s words ?They frustrate the living daylights out of me!? He mentioned that training often starts with a long chat session between the girls and a discussion on goal scoring celebrations. Gee, that does sound familiar! However, on a more serious note Wade felt that his team deserved the three points. He felt that they?d worked hard but pondered their difficulty in scoring goals. He noted that next week?s game against Illawarra Stingrays would be a big test of what his girls have to offer. He felt that Captain Ashley Hume had been very strong for his side.
Steve Harris, the Northern Tigers Coach, was happy with his team?s performance. He commented that his side?s finishing needs a lot of work and that they?d turned over a lot of ball. There is still a lot of work to do. Harris felt that Rosemary Turner, Tanya Moore and Gabbie Dal Pozza had played strong games for his side.
A keenly contested match featuring a couple of cracking goals. Each side had periods of domination but both generally struggled in front of goal. The ravens have a difficult week ahead with a catch up match against Blacktown on Saturday followed by their long awaited clash with Illawarra Stingrays on Sunday. Gladesville would need to improve on today?s effort to test the rampaging Stingrays but I?m sure that Coach Wade will come up with a trick or two in the coming week to try and tame the Illawarra strike pair of Carney and Heyman. It looms as a fine match.
-By Ross Anderson