Arrive Alive Women?s Premier League Round 4 Review


My grandfather served at Gallipoli, though not in the initial landing. One can only imagine what it was like to hit that small beach under murderous enemy fire, tasting combat for the first time. My grandfather, like so many, lied about his age to enlist.
He had his seventeenth birthday on the troop ship as he was being transported to the war. Michael enlisted thinking this was a great adventure.
It turned out to be something different but my grandfather, as with those who followed him through the Great War, World War Two, The Korean War and Vietnam fought for an ideal. Because of what the sacrifice of these brave people we have the freedom to watch football at the park, take in a movie with our families or have a picnic at the beach.
 I grew up watching the ANZAC Day march, watching the television programmes each ANZAC Day that detailed the heroism of our soldiers in various theatres of war. I?m not a person who glorifies what war is. But I don?t mind admitting that those early exposures to what it was to be an ANZAC made me proud of my grandfather and very proud to be an Australian. Lest We Forget.
My football wanderings took me out to ELS Hall Park today where the competition leaders, NWS Koalas, met Manly United FC.
Both teams were hit by injury with The Koalas in particular stung by the omission of experienced trio Rachel Jones, Rachel Doyle and Kate Hensman. However, this seemed to matter little in the opening exchanges as both sides settled into a fast paced game of football. Neither side held any notable ascendancy though both displayed a good build up through solid passing games. The final pass was the one that was lacking though as the two teams tried to find the key to unlock the opposing defences. Should it have been surprising then that, when the first goal appeared, it came from error rather than brilliance? In the 17th minute a harmless ball was pushed through by Manly. The Koalas Adrijana Cirjak and keeper Anne Rutlidge confused each other as one shepherded the ball and the other advanced to meet it on the edge of the box. Neither actually took ownership which offered Manly?s Caitlin Jarvie the opportunity to drive between them, escape with the ball and slot away the goal.
This goal signalled a push forward by The Koalas with Hayley Crawford and Carlie Ikonomou playing strong roles in midfield. The half opportunities presented by any Koalas thrust though were coming from distance rather than in the box. Anna McLean was a prominent figure in The Koalas attacking raids. Manly appeared to handle these attacks with comfort. Manly Keeper Lani Honecker was rarely put under pressure.
Both teams appeared to be cancelling each other out; trading attacks but unable to pierce the heart of the defence. Up stepped Manly?s Gill Foster to show the youngsters how to do the job. In the 41st minute Foster received the ball about 30 metres from The Koalas goal. As with the opening goal of the game nothing seemed to be on. Someone forgot to tell Foster. The Manly star let go with a thunderbolt that rocketed into the back of the net, wide of the despairing dive of Koalas keeper Rutlidge. Certainly this goal would be a contender for goal of the season.
Having set up what appeared a comfortable half time lead Manly United momentarily lost concentration, allowing Koalas Natasha Loguidice to let fire herself from just inside the Manly box. The salvo powered through the hands of the Manly keeper to bring The Koalas back into the game. The referee?s whistle blew half time within moments of the Manly keeper retrieving the ball from the back of her net. This was indeed a timely response from The Koalas.
The second half started with a moment of fright for the locals when a cross from Manly?s Elyce Bates was knocked down, falling at the feet of the ever present Liz Morrison. However, the tall Manly attacker couldn?t make the most of her opportunity, pushing a meek shot to the keeper.
Evelyn Chronis and Natasha Loguidice were causing the Manly side plenty of headaches with Chronis making one great run from inside her own half which had goal written all over it before a despairing last ditch tackle by the Manly defence. The visitors were doing plenty of damage themselves with Morrison, Jarvie and Foster testing The Koalas at every opportunity.
The pressure eventually told on The Koalas however. After surviving a Foster free kick from the edge of the penalty area through a brilliant save by keeper Rutlidge, The Koalas gave up a penalty after Rutlidge and one of her defenders crashed to ground with a Manly attacker. That girl Foster calmly slotted away the place kick to give Manly what appeared a decisive 3-1 break.
The two sides traded blows with half chances going astray. In the final moments of play The Koalas grabbed a consolation goal when a cross from Mclean caused havoc in the Manly defence. The Manly keeper was unable to hold onto the ball and, in a goal mouth scramble, Chronis picked up a well deserved goal. The Koalas barely had time to regroup for another assault before the referee blew the final whistle, giving Manly United FC victory.
Koalas Coach, Claude De Francesco, felt that his side had not played well. He wasn?t using his team?s injury list as an excuse, however, saying that the replacements have to step up in situations such as this. De Francesco felt that his side had been indecisive and paid for that fault. He described Manly as an aggressive side that gave their opponents little space to work in. He paid credit to what he described as a ?good team?.
Manly United Coach Larry Bates described it as ?one of those days? where the conditions played a part. Bates said that, whilst both teams were missing players, neither gave an inch. Bates is proud of the young players being developed in this team and praised the ?older heads? whose experience led the side around the park. Bates was the epitome of a proud and happy Coach.
This was a fine game of football by two teams who came to play. I?m guessing that these two sides will see a lot more of each other before season?s end.
NWS Koalas 2 (N.Loguidice 45m, E.Chronis 90m)
Manly United FC 3 (C.Jarvie 17m, G.Foster 41m/70m)
In other matches today Marconi Stallions won a tight encounter with bottom placed Sutherland Sharks 1-0 at Harrie Denning Centre.
A 75th minute goal by Porter saw The Stallions home but this proved to be a much tougher match up for the 2008 Finalists than was expected. Whilst they didn?t get a share of the points The Sharks would have at least walked away with a glimmer of hope for the future from their performance. An away game with Manly United in the next round is not ideal for the competition strugglers however.
Marconi will need to improve considerably on their recent form with their two from three record possibly be a little flattering. The Stallions face a busy week with a Wednesday night catch up game against Macarthur Rams followed by a visit to Marconi Stadium by the Illawarra Stingrays. We should know more about The Stallions credentials after those two matches.
Sutherland Sharks 0
Marconi Stallions 1 (S.Porter 75m)  
Macarthur Rams seem to have found their feet in the new season, following last week?s narrow win over manly United FC with a 7 goal thumping of the hapless Penrith Nepean United at Lynwood Park.
The Rams opened the scoring in the 9th minute through Stephanie Haim before goals by Kylie Ledbrook (20m), Sigrid Manty (37m) and Renee Cartwright (41m) gave the defending premiers a 4-0 half time lead. The Champions went right on with the job in the second half with Manty completing her hat trick with goals in the 68th and 71st minutes before an own goal by Penrith in the 79th minute completed the scoring.
An awesome performance by The Rams; one that will have all the other contenders peering over their shoulders in fright. The Rams big guns are beginning to fire and that spells trouble for the opposition.
Penrith are going nowhere fast. They desperately need a light at the end of their ever darkening tunnel or their season will be a disaster.
Macarthur Rams 7 (S.Haim 9m, K.Ledbrook 20m, S.Manty 37m/68m/71m, R.Cartwright 41m, own goal 79m)
Penrith Nepean United 0
The remaining game of the round between Illawarra Stingrays and Sydney University was postponed due to the condition of the pitch. Both sides are building an unenviable list of catch up games.
Some stunning results in a fine weekend of football. A number of clubs signalled their intentions for 2009, others struggled to keep their heads above water during a difficult period. Fortunately there?s another game next week and the wheel of fortune can turn quickly.
-By Ross Anderson