Their first round meeting had been a gripping encounter and the two teams repeated the dose in Sunday?s match.
The Rams, without star midfielder Kylie Ledbrook through suspension, came out of the blocks running. They opened the scoring at the 17th minute mark with a nice finish by Linda Dudek.
The Koalas bounced back quickly from this setback with Sanaa Hawkins equalising for her side in the 20th minute. That heralded something of an arm wrestle; reminiscent of the teams? first game at Lynwood Park at the end of April. With so many talented players on display both sides were able to create a number of scoring opportunities but neither could find the back of the net.
Just as the game looked header for a stalemate Sanaa Hawkins once again found herself in the right spot at the right moment slamming in an 80th minute strike that proved to be the winner.
This was a great win for The Koalas. Not only did they avenge their only defeat of the season they also gave themselves a three point lead in the Minor Premiership with a game in hand over The Rams. There aren?t any easy matches in the Arrive Alive NSW Women?s Premier League competition but The Koalas look as if they?ll be hard to peg back from here. Whilst Macarthur will be disappointed with their loss they?ll be buoyed in the coming weeks by various players returning from injury. You can be assured that the girls from the south west won?t relinquish their title without a fight.
NWS Koalas 2 (S.Hawkins 2)
Macarthur Rams 1 (L.Dudek)
The battle of the seasiders at the Harrie Dening Centre was won in emphatic style by Manly United FC. Sutherland Sharks have become marooned on four competition points after suffering their tenth successive loss.
Manly had grabbed a 2-0 lead by half time after goals by Hensman in the 10th and 17th minutes. Try as The Sharks might they could not get themselves into the game and conceded another two goals in the second half, one to Foster in the 58th minute, the other to Bates in the 82nd minute.
The win lifted Manly three points clear of fifth placed Penrith United with both teams having a couple of catch up games pending from washed out fixtures earlier in the season. Manly continue to look of the sides likely to challenge for honours at the end of the season. They have a strong physical presence in their games, backed up by plenty of classy players across the park. Consistency may have been their Achilles? heel at times but that problem may dissipate come finals time.
Sutherland? Where Coach Michael Michael goes from here is anyone?s guess. Marconi Stallions don?t look any easier an assignment for The Sharks in the next round.
Manly United FC 4 (K.Hensman 2, G.Foster, E.Bates)
Sutherland Sharks 0
The Penrith Nepean United and Sydney University game looked an interesting tussle on paper and so it turned out to be. These two teams had been due to meet earlier in the week also in a catch up game of their washed out clash from Round 5. However, the rain gods had intervened again, causing a wash out of the catch up; if that makes sense!
There wasn?t a lot in the game in the first half with both sides having opportunities. However, just as the oranges were being peeled in preparation for the half time break, Sydney University struck with Chase slotting away a 43rd minute strike.
University stuck to their guns after the break as Penrith attempted to find a way back into the game. In the 60th minute though, the locals came up trumps with striker Ellie Stott scoring the equaliser.
This only sparked University who relied some seven minutes later through Koncurat to regain the lead. This goal looked as if it may turn out to be the decisive strike of the game. Fortunately for Penrith though, Captain/Coach Taryn Rockall had other ideas, putting her team back on level terms with a goal in the 84th minute. Thus the entertaining clash finished in a 2-2 draw.
Penrith slipped three points behind fourth placed Manly United whilst another point is welcomed to University?s tally. Both sides have shown some real spirit in recent displays. It was to be expected that neither was going to give any ground in this clash.
Penrith United 2 (E.Stott, T.Rockall)
Sydney University 2 (K.Chase. A.Koncurat)
The remaining game of the round, the Central Coast Lightning v Marconi Stallions match set down for Pluim Park, was washed out. It will now be played on a date to be fixed.
The top four on the ladder remain the same; NWS Koalas, Macarthur Rams, Marconi Stallions and Manly United FC in that order.
The Match of the Day for Round 13 looms as the Manly United v NWS Koalas game at Cromer Park. The first round game was a tight affair with Koalas coming away 1-0 winners. Don?t expect any less tension when the two heavy hitters meet again.
See you this week for another exciting round of the Arrive Alive NSW Women?s Premier League.
-By Ross Anderson