What I enjoy about tipping teams to win or lose every week is that my opinion seems to motivate some of the sides to new heights. I don?t intend to charge any 1st Grade coaches for supplying this inspiration to their players. I am guessing that I may not be on the Christmas card list of certain individuals though! This week my tipping form was back to normal; dismally normal!
Round 16 of the Arrive Alive NSW Women?s Premier League didn?t provide too many unexpected results. Two draws, a couple of seemingly comfortable wins; the competition continues on with the same question marks hanging over the Minor Premiership and the top four as were being discussed prior to the weekend.
Eighth placed (now doesn?t that sound nicer than bottom of the ladder?) Central Coast Lightning put up a solid effort against premiership leaders NWS Koalas at Pluim Park. The Lightning girls managed to keep The Koalas scoreless until the 54th minute when Sanaa Hawkins broke the deadlock to give The Koalas the lead. Alicia Cavanagh followed up in the 60th minute to give the prospective Minor Premiers some breathing space. Stephanie De Francesco rounded out the scoring with a goal in the closing minutes of the match.
The result was probably what was expected. Maybe the tenacity of the Central Coast side wasn?t. They deserve a pat on the back for the spirit they showed in pushing The Koalas as they did.
The Koalas just keep on rolling. With results elsewhere they?ve re-established their four point lead atop the ladder. They?ll be hard to catch from here.
Central Coast Lightning 0
NWS Koalas 3 (S.Hawkins, A.Cavanagh, S. De Francesco)
The giant killers from Penrith Nepean United managed to snatch another point from a premiership contender with a thrilling 1-1 draw against Macarthur Rams at Cook Park.
Emma Stewart opened the scoring for the locals in the 13th minute but this lead was short lived. Kylie Ledbrook evened the ledger just five minutes later, leaving a 1-1 scoreline that remained in vogue until the half time break. Both sides went looking for a winner in the second stanza but to no avail.
Not the ideal result for The Rams. It makes their task of catching NWS Koalas in the title race just that little bit harder. Penrith?s successive draws, whilst impressive on the resume, has also allowed the gap to the teams directly above them widen slightly. Next week?s match up with Manly United at Cromer Park now becomes a vital fixture for Penrith United?s semi final hopes.
Penrith United 1 (E.Stewart)
Macarthur Rams 1 (K.Ledbrook)
Marconi Stallions gained some revenge for an earlier loss this season to Manly United with a strong 4-0 win at Marconi Stadium.
Last time out Marconi had led at half time only to be over run by a resurgent Manly side but things were different for The Stallions on their home turf.
Marconi striker Ash Connor busted the game wide open with a brace, scored in the 32nd and 34th minutes, leaving a shell shocked Manly down 2-0 at half time. Whilst Manly tried hard to mount another comeback in the second half, The Stallions put the visitors out of their misery with goals by the consistent Trudy Camilleri in the 71st minute and Fab Perfilio just two minutes later.
This was a fine win by Marconi after the disappointment of last weekend?s defeat at the hands of Macarthur. Manly United? One of those off weeks I guess. I?m sure they?ll be ready for battle though when Penrith United come visiting next Sunday.
Marconi Stallions 4 (A.Connor 2, T.Camilleri, F.Perfilio)
Manly United 0
The final match of the round didn?t have a lot of bearing on the ladder but was certainly important to the two combatants. The Sharks were looking to snare successive wins for the first time in 2008, Sydney University were out to move themselves a little closer on the ladder to the top bracket of teams.
The match was something of a tug of war in the first half with neither side being able to trouble the scorers. However, soon after half time, Chase put the Sydney University girls 1-0 up. University then set about ensuring they collected the three points.
However, in the 84th minute and within sight of the finishing line for University, Katie Hilder bobbed up to equalise for Sutherland ensuring that they shared the points. Hilder had scored twice for The Sharks last week in their win over Central Coast so she?s certainly the talk of the town in The Shire at the moment!
Sydney University 1 (K.Chase)
Sutherland Sharks 1 (K.Hilder)
I don?t know that both coaches would be happy with a point but, with World Youth Day making plenty of news, a caring, sharing attitude is probably a good one to have this week.
This weekend sees one of those top four versus bottom four weekends in the Arrive Alive NSW Women?s Premier League. Upsets don?t look likely but who?s to know? Maybe a few coaches have a trick or two up their sleeve? Certainly the Manly United versus Penrith United clash looms large on the horizon as the match of the round.
The semi finals are just around the corner.
-By Ross Anderson