Arrive Alive NSW Womens Super League Round 7 Review


Let me paint a picture for you.
A reporter sits on a hill at a lovely suburban ground, nestled in amongst homes, attempting to stop his blood circulation from being frozen in his veins. Can Ryde Council please supply Gladesville Ravens with a small grant to build a roof over their park with central heating included? Is women?s football worth the sacrifice (reporter reaches for a tissue whilst swallowing cold and flu tablet)? You BET it is!
It may have been cold at Peel Park but the players in the Match of the Day between Gladesville Ravens and Inter Lions did their best to keep the spectator?s adrenalin running with an entertaining clash. Inter had been building some momentum into their season before what Coach Joe Baldacci considered and unlucky loss to Southern NSW FC in Nowra last weekend. Having boned up on the off side rule during the ensuing week Coach Joe was keen to continue Gladesville?s grief after the host?s first loss of the season last Sunday to the Illawarra Stingrays. Ravens Coach Paul Wade, however, had other plans.
Inter started the game well with good field position. Former Young Matilda Catherine Cannuli was pulling the strings in a midfield role and things were looking promising for The Lions. Jennie Scott was also prominent early for the visitors with an early chance from the Inter striker being out wide of goal.
Gladesville created a chance or two of their own, the best probably being from a free kick by Fatma Ager. Her kick was perfectly placed to find an advancing Ashley Hume inside the Inter box but Hume was unable to run quickly enough to shoot. The clearance from the defence fell back to Ager who shot high from distance.
Just a minute later however, Inter received a free kick of their own at the front edge of The Ravens penalty box. Inter?s Rose Scarloto stepped up, putting the ball high at the Ravens keeper who uncharacteristically misjudged the ball, dropping it over the line for the opening goal. This was just the start that Inter had been looking for. Things were about to get better.
In the 10th minute another free kick was awarded to Inter about 20 metres from goal. The experienced Cannuli decide this one was hers, putting her shot past the diving keeper into the bottom left hand corner of the goal. Just like that it was 2-0 to Inter Lions. This was shaping as an exciting afternoon for the girls from Concord.
At this stage Ravens were struggling to break down the Inter defence. Their shots at goal were rather ineffectual distance shots and not much seemed to be happening for the locals. The momentum was slowly, quietly starting to change however. Ravens put some pressure on Inter through a couple of free kicks. Agara then released Courtenay Parrott with a nice ball but Parrott?s shot was high over the bar. This was a warning of things to come for Inter, a warning that appeared to go unheeded.
So it was, in the 23rd minute, that Gladesville were awarded another free kick. Inter?s Cannuli leapt to clear with a header but the ball went sideways to the feet of Ravens Alyssa Hardie. Her solid shot was mishandled by Inter keeper Sou Yatim and the ball falls back into the goal. It?s 2-1 to Inter. The subtle change in momentum started to build to earthquake proportions.
Ravens surged on the back of this goal. A great run by Nicole Ridley for Ravens brought a diving save from Yatim. Ridley follows this up with another solid shot a moment later, this one going straight to the keeper. Hardie and Smith are combining well and Ridley again tests Yatim soon after.
The 34th minute sees Ashleigh Smith break for Ravens but she is fouled on the edge of the box by the Inter defence. The free kick from Agar though does little to stretch the Inter keeper. Ridley is starting to take control in the middle of the park and creates numerous opportunities for herself. Whilst they don?t bring an additional goal these raids do send the Inter girls to the sheds at half time with a few worried frowns on their faces. The visitors 2-1 half time lead is far from secure.
Gladesville come out after the break intent on carrying on where they?d left off. Parrott is starting to cause the Inter defence plenty of headaches and a nice turn gives her a shooting opportunity which goes to the keeper. Lisa Mitchell makes something of a reply for Inter but her shot is taken low at the near post by Ravens keeper Cherrington.
It didn?t take long for Gladesville to assert themselves tough as 3 minutes after the resumption Parrot breaks on the right and sends a looping shot over the keeper?s head. The ball hits the far post and rebounds back into the net for a great goal. Inter?s lead has evaporated as Ravens draw level.
Inter lift with both Hayley Macbeath and Jennie Scott prominent. Scott?s shots at goal cause little anxiety for the defence though, along with Scarlato?s free kick which sails into the keeper?s hands. Agar is continuing to work hard for The Ravens along with Melissa Fornito.
The 60th minute sees Parrott once again bust the Inter defence on the right. Her cross rebounds off an Inter defender before falling to Fornito who slams a quality strike into the back of the net. Three unanswered goals to Gladesville has left The Lions girls stunned! The frustration starts to show as, shortly afterwards, Macbeath is yellow carded for a harsh tackle on Fornito. The best chances now seem to be falling Ravens way.
In the 67th minute Hardie, Fornito and Parrott combine to pull apart the seams of the Lions defence before pushing the ball too far in front of their support. Inter are losing their composure as they struggle to retain possession. The turnover rate is building rapidly. Inter sub Jess Hurst with Sarah Yatim who moves into an attacking role. Hulme?s free kick for Ravens causes little danger. In the 75th minute Cannuli shows a touch of brilliance as she drifts to the left but her shot is just to the right of the post.
Coach Wade decides to make some changes of his own, bringing Yasmine Dixon and Nicola Maher into the game. Parrott is still causing havoc for Gladesville, having her umpteenth sot of the half soon after. Ravens are now on top and Inter?s chances are now few and far between. Ravens seem to be peppering the goal from distance.
Parrott then releases Fornito who crosses into the box. Inter fail to clear the danger but Hardie is unable to take advantage and pushes the ball wide. Fornito follows up with a shot from distance which goes straight to keeper Yatim.
The Inter defence cannot repel the pressure any longer though and in the 90th minute Gladesville seal their win after Parrott again breaks into the box, passing to Smith who puts it away. The final scoreline is a gutsy 4-2 success to Gladesville Ravens.
Ravens Coach Paul Wade mentioned how he had given his team a ?serve? before the game in an effort to get them rolling. This turned into a 2-0 deficit within 10 minutes! He thought it may still be worth another try next week though. Wade lauded his girls as a team that never stop trying. ?They always play for 94 minutes? said Wade. ?They disappoint me sometimes, just as they disappoint themselves but they?re a gutsy lot? stated Wade.
Inter Coach Joe Baldacci was still a little shell shocked at half time. He had trouble comprehending how his girls were sailing along with a 2-0 lead one minute and were going backwards the next. ?I?m still keeping my hopes up? said Baldacci. He felt that the midfield was a problem area for his team. Baldacci also felt that his group of players who returned from injury in this game were off their games. He felt that there were things to work on but was obviously disappointed that his girls couldn?t finish off the game.
This was a fine effort by Gladesville. To come back from 2-0 down against a side that had been in good form leading into the match was quite a performance. The noticeable change in tide after Inter?s second goal was testament to Gladesville?s spirit. Paul Wade has worked some magic tricks on his side since last weekend?s loss to Illawarra. This is a win to be proud of.
Gladesville Ravens 4 (A.Hardie, C.Parrott, M.Fornito, A.Smith)
Inter Lions              2 ( R.Scarlato, C.Cannuli)
In other Arrive Alive NSW Womens Super League matches Southern NSW FC continued their resurgence with an upset win over the in form St George FC. French grabbed a hat trick for the locals, her first coming in the 7th minute. St George equalised in the 18th minute but by half time were down 5-2. The two sides traded a goal a piece in the second half with Southern eventually running out convincing 6-3 winners. Obviously Nowra will prove a grave yard for many a side in 2008.
Southern NSW FC 6 (K.French 3, E.Cobb 2, K.Meehan) 
St George FC         3 (T.Unner, M.Toumbelekis, C.Arnold)
UNSW managed to grab the lead through a 41st minute goal in their clash with Bankstown Wildcats. This half time lead lasted until one minute after the break when consistent Wildcats goal scorer Olympia Avramidis drew the visitor?s level. Bankstown then ran away with the game in a seven minute period, scoring three unanswered gaols to beat the struggling UNSW side 4-1. A welcome return to the winner?s list for the girls from Bankstown.
UNSW 1 (L.Beiglari)
Bankstown Wildcats 4 (M.Kalogeropoulos 2, O.Avramidis, D. Pringle)
Illawarra Stingrays scored three goals in each half as they put paid to a struggling Blacktown Spartans side at Cook Park. It was Michelle Carney?s turn to bag a hat trick this week whilst strike partner Michelle Heyman scored in both the 1st and 56th minutes. I don?t know if these two have a $50 side bet on who the leading goal scorer will be for their side this season but ti?s going to be a close race right down to the wire. They really are a great pairing. Oh yes, Erica Halloway joined in the fun as well. She doesn?t mind scoring a goal or two herself.
Blacktown were simply outclassed by the classy side in the league. I keep asking; who can put the acid test to Illawarra?
Blacktown Spartans 0
Illawarra Stingrays  6 (M.Carney 3, M.Heyman 2, E.Halloway)
The Stingrays may continue to fly high but the Western NSW Panthers are still stalking them in second place. The Bathurst girls remain undefeated after snaring a 2-0 win at home over a game Northern Tigers outfit. This game was probably unique in that Gillian Rosconi didn?t score for The Panthers! A goal in each half was enough to win the day for Western NSW. They?re disciplined defence kept a clean sheet again. It seems as if only the competition leaders may have the firepower to put The Panthers under pressure. Can?t wait for June 1st!
Western NSW Panthers 2 (E.Markwick, A.Sykes)
Northern Tigers              0
The top three sides continue on their winning way, the gap closes a little on fourth spot. Next week?s round holds matches that may continue that trend. If results go according to the form guide the top three have the chance to break clear if successful. I?m sure the chasers will be working hard at training this week to ensure that doesn?t happen.
 -By Ross Anderson