Four sides now sit within two points of fourth place whilst Gladesville Ravens draw with St George on Sunday saw them drop seven points behind second placed Western NSW Panthers. Things are likely to get very interesting in the coming weeks, not just in the run for top spot but more so with the teams jockeying for a semi final spot. Points will certainly be at a premium.
The Arrive Alive NSW Women?s Super League match of the day certainly appeared to be the third placed Ravens and fourth placed St George. Gladesville came into the match off a great comeback win over Inter Lions at Peel Park last Sunday. St George had been in good form prior to a last start loss to Southern NSW FC in Nowra.
Ravens got on the scoreboard first in the 25th minute through Alyssa Hardie. St George, however, bounced back in the 35th minute through a strike by Hill. A 1-1 half time scoreline seemed to be setting the game up for an exciting second half. Despite their best efforts though neither side could add to their score and the game ended with the teams sharing the points. This result maintained the two sides? places on the competition ladder but left them in a little vulnerable in differing ways. St George will now be glancing nervously over their shoulders at the pack in pursuit. Ravens hopes of finishing in the top two also struck a hurdle. Both teams are capable of much better than what was seen in this match.
St George FC 1 (A.Hill)
Gladesville Ravens 1 (A.Hardie)
Illawarra Stingrays fans must be starting to get a little bored with watching Michelle Carney and Michelle Heyman score goals each week. Every now and then Erica Halloway bobs up on the sheet as well. This weekend then was no different. The Northern Tigers were the latest team to be put to the sword by the all conquering competition leaders. The Tigers did manage something that not every team does; they put one past the Illawarra defence through Captain Rosemary Toner but one is never enough to beat The Stingrays.
Carney added five to her season tally today whilst Heyman netted another four. Poor Erica Halloway must have been disappointed to only snare a brace! The scoreline must have been an ominous one for the Western NSW Panthers to read in preparation for the top two clash next weekend.
Illawarra have been in another class to every team they?ve met so far this season. It?s hard to see any defence closing down the various attacking weapons that The Stingrays have on offer. They are indeed a talented squad.
Illawarra Stingrays 11 (M.Carney 5, M.Heyman 4, E.Halloway 2)
Northern Tigers 1 (R.Toner)
The Panthers themselves warmed up for next week with a comfortable victory over bottom ranked side UNSW. The Panthers were up 3-0 by half time but didn?t add to their tally until an own goal by UNSW in the final minute of the game.
The Panthers aren?t a side who score a lot of goals but they usually manage to score enough! Their solid defensive line wasn?t breached by the struggling UNSW who seem anchored on one competition point. The win did increase The Panthers break over third placed Ravens to seven points, a buffer that may come in handy before season?s end.
Still, I?m sure that Illawarra and next weekend in Bathurst was at the back of every Panthers player?s mind today. I?m certainly packing my woolly socks and mittens in readiness for the trip over the mountains next Sunday!
Western NSW Panthers 4 (S.Wood, J.Braun, A.Sykes, own goal)
No, the Southern NSW FC?s recent run of success is not a home ground phenomenon! This week they paid a trip to Sydney?s south west to try the hospitality of the Bankstown Wildcats. The Wildcats proved a little too hospitable, allowing Southern to add an extra three competition points to their tally with a 3-0 win.
Bankstown?s resurgence of last weekend was short lived, despite going into the half time break level with the visitors. Southern took some time to grab the ascendancy but eventually opened the scoring through Cobb in the 69th minute. Last year?s Super League Golden Boot, Katie French, doubled the lead in the 75th minute before Meehan put the final nail in Bankstown?s coffin in the 87th minute.
This is three in a row for Southern NSW FC, who meet UNSW in Nowra next Sunday. A few teams higher on the ladder must be looking nervously at Southern?s surge of form and wondering if they?re about to repeat last season?s finals heroics. Bankstown still hover just below the top four but aren?t playing with any spark.
Watch out for Southern NSW FC in the coming weeks.
Bankstown Wildcats 0
Southern NSW FC 3 (E.Cobb, K.French, K.Meehan)
In the final match for review Inter Lions hosted Blacktown Spartans at Ron Routley Oval.
Inter?s recent form has been promising whereas Blacktown have struggled to make an impression. Inter opened the scoring in the 12th minute after Captain Nicki Caridad released Brooke Cowie on the right of midfield. Cowie made no mistake with her shot.
The game then turned into an end to end affair with both sides pressing hard for an advantage. Inter right back Jess Abraham then failed to clear a ball in the 39th minute with her error being pounced upon by Spirakis of Blacktown to level the scores.
This looked likely to be the scoreline at oranges but Inter had other plans. Rose Scarlato and Koo Barbi combined to send Jennie Scott charging at goal. Scott slotted the ball into the back of the net to give The Lions a 2-1 lead at half time. There were no Cuban cigars at half time for Inter Coach Joe Baldacci this week though as he encouraged his girls to finish the game off in the second half.
It took twelve minutes but Coach Joe got his wish when the bust Rose Scarlato interchanged passes with Nicki Caridad before releasing a bomb from distance that thundered into the back of the Blacktown net. The Spartans tried hard to mount a comeback, launching a number of attacking raids of their own. But the Inter defence held firm before Katherine King released a thunderbolt of her own from some 30 meters in the 67th minute to give Inter what proved an unassailable 4-1 lead. The experience of players like Scarlato, Caridad and Catherine Cannuli had steered the young Inter squad to an important win, leaving them one point off fourth place.
Inter Lions 4 (B.Cowie, J.Scott, R.Scarlato, K.King)
Blacktown Spartans 1 (Z.Spirakis)
This was a good round of football with plenty of highlights. All eyes, however, will look towards 3pm next Sunday at Alec Lamberton Field in Bathurst for the top of the table blockbuster between Western NSW Panthers and Illawarra Stingrays. The miserly defence of The Panthers versus the flamboyant attack of The Stingrays. What a game!
Look for this week?s Football NSW E Newsletter containing our weekly Player Interview. This week?s subject is Gladesville Ravens goalkeeper Claire Cherrington.
By Ross Anderson