Arrive Alive Women?s Premier League Round 5 Review


Fortunately all other games went ahead providing plenty of action for fans.
With the postponement of the University v Koalas match your reporter headed out along the M5 to Lynwood Park to watch the game between Macarthur Rams and Inter Lions.
It was a cool night at Lynwood Park with The Rams hosting The Lions in an Anzac Day match up.
The match started at a fast pace with Inter making most of the running. Successive corners were defused by Macarthur before a neat run by Caitlan Jarvie ended with a shot over the bar. Macarthur?s passes weren?t quite sticking in the early stages with Linda Dudek?s long range effort at goal being their first real glimmer of attack.
Macarthur?s growing enthusiasm was then rewarded with some good work by Stephanie Haim and Laura Donnelly with Donnelly being dispossessed inside the box just as she was about to pull the trigger.
Inter seemed to be more than matching Macarthur?s usual physicality and were generally dominating the centre of the park. The build up from the visitors was strong but they were unable to take advantage in the final third of the field.
Macarthur showed glimmers of what they had to offer though with a break from defence involving Williams, Cartwright, Haim and Dudek charging the home team to within sight of goal. The spectators were certainly being treated to a fast, open game of football. Catherine Cannuli and Caitlan Jarvie were combining well in attack for Inter; an ominous sign for The Rams defence.
A great run by Renee Tomkins saw the tall Inter midfielder race into the penalty area only to be closed down by a last ditch tackle from Renee Cartwright.  Then a great ball by Lauren Ralston released Sigrid Manty down the right flank. Manty?s cross, however, was well held by Inter keeper Amanda Horafios. Ralston soon after let off a distance shot at goal which, whilst on target, was easily held again by the Horafios. Macarthur had started to get a more even share of the match.
Both sides were managing to find some holes in the opposition defence but were unable to finish their attacks. A goal mouth melee saw a half chance for Inter, winning them a corner. However, Cannuli?s high flying delivery glanced off Temeka Wearing?s head and well wide of goal. Play was going end to end as both sides sought a breakthrough.
In the 41st minute a strong burst by Linda Dudek off a Claire Walsh ball saw The Rams threaten goal.  Dudek?s pass towards Stephanie Haim, skewed back towards Laura Donnelly at the edge of the semi circle. Donnelly?s shot never looked like missing. Suddenly The Rams were up 1-0.
Soon after a free kick by Renee Cartwright brought a fingertip save from the Inter keeper but the ensuing corner presented no danger.  The Lions were continuing to forward but those final few metres were not being kind to them.
The half time whistle saw Macarthur in front 1-0.
The second stanza opened as brightly as the first but this time it was Macarthur who were pushing forward in numbers. A free kick to The Rams after a Catherine Cannuli foul caused Inter some anxious moments but The Lions eventually managed to clear their line. Macarthur seemed keen to extend their lead as quickly as possible.
A free kick taken by Stephanie Haim from the edge of the box was sprayed high over goal. A missed opportunity for Macarthur. Inter Lions were slowly starting to settle into the half. This looked like another 45 minutes of end to end football.
A yellow card to Sigrid Manty saw Inter going forward from the free kick but Macarthur were proving equal to the task. Soon after the free kick went the other way on the right edge of the Inter box but Renee Cartwright?s kick was of no danger.  
Inter Coach Joe Baldacci then decided to make a change, replacing Jo Saliba with Dani Calvi and dropping Natasha LoGuidice back into midfield.
Inter then broke quickly from defence. Natasha LoGuidice, Catherine Cannuli and Caitlan Jarvie combined beautifully with Jarvie on her own running at goal. As she was about to shoot Jarvie stumbled slightly. When regathering her stride her shot was knocked down by Rams keeper Michelle Grigg who then dived on the loose ball. Macarthur then raced to the other end of the field where a Linda Dudek cross found Stephanie Haim. The usually deadly Haim couldn?t put the chance away though and Inter lived to fight another day.
Inter then took their turn to attack, culminating in a shot by Jarvie straight to Rams keeper Grigg. Macarthur soon after won three successive corners. The third found Stephanie Haim in front of goal with the Macarthur sharpshooter burying the chance and making it 2-0 to The Rams after 75 minutes.
The Rams had become dominant, winning another corner which brought a wide shot from Renee Cartwright. A fine run down the right by Sigrid Manty ended with a fine cross to Stephanie Haim in front of goal but the Inter defence stopped her from taking a clean shot.  Inter moved forward but there was plenty of desperation showing in their play. Macarthur were proving too strong defensively. Inter had a good chance after excellent lead up work by Tomkins and Starratt but Grigg was able to hold Jarvie?s stinging shot at goal.
Inter were able to win themselves a corner in the 87th minute. The Catherine Cannuli delivery was fumbled by Rams keeper Grigg before Inter?s Nadia Hamson was able to guide the ball into goal. Within sight of fulltime it was now game on at Lynwood Park. A magnificent ball found Catherine Cannuli running into goal but somehow her shot flew over the bar. Inter had got a sniff now, however and were throwing everything at Macarthur.
The referee?s whistle came to The Rams rescue soon after though with the home team recording a well deserved 2-1 victory.
After the game Inter Lions Captain Catherine Cannuli rued her team?s missed opportunities. Cannuli felt that The Lions had dominated most of the first half but had failed to capitalise. The Inter Lions star also said that she felt that the team was taking a step forward with every game. Whilst the result was disappointing Cannuli still had confidence in the team?s long term future in 2010.
Macarthur Rams Coach Matt Turvey was very satisfied with his team?s performance. Turvey said that The Rams were still finding their feet with players returning from injury. ?We knew it would be a tough game. Inter are always strong? said Turvey. ?Our girls stood tall today and did really well? was the Macarthur gaffer?s final comment.
This was as good a game as I?ve seen this season. Fast, open with no quarter given. Both sides could be happy with their afternoon?s work though I?m sure Macarthur went home much happier as they took the competition points.
MACARTHUR RAMS 2 (L.Donnelly 41m, S.Haim 75m)
INTER LIONS              1 (N.Hamson 87m)
In Bathurst the Western NSW Panthers and Marconi Stallions clashed in what was to be a battle of two of the league?s 2010 ?surprise packets?.
The Marconi Fillies, the team of youngsters who seem to be resurrecting the fortunes of the Stallions this season, have impressed everyone with their enthusiasm and flair. The Panthers aren?t necessarily seen as a side where flair is predominant but they are a team with a determined, never say die attitude that often sees them come through in the close encounters.
The two sides put on a good display for the spectators but neither could find the all important breakthrough. The 0-0 half time scoreline remained the same at the final whistle leaving both teams with a share of the competition points.
The result left The Panthers in third place on the competition ladder with The Stallions just outside the top four.
In Wollongong the Illawarra Stingrays hosted their neighbours the Sutherland Sharks at J.J.Kelly Park.
The Sharks were expected to struggle but they managed to stay with The Stingrays early. However, in the 25th minute, Illawarra?s Michelle Carney broke the deadlock and The Stingrays were on their way. Carney followed this up with her second goal in the 35th minute whilst Sam Muscat extended the half time lead to 3-0 with her goal in the 38th minute.
Within two minutes of the break the inspirational Carney had completed her hat trick. The Stingrays final goal, in the 69th minute, was scored by young gun Talitha Kramer.
It may be time for officials of The Stingrays club to consider having a bronze statue of Michelle Carney placed just inside the gates of J.J.Kelly Park. Her loyalty to the club in recent seasons, along with her inspiring leadership of the team has had a lot to do with their success in recent seasons. Her hat trick in this match was just another example of what a fine footballer she is.
Sutherland?s hoped of an upset floundered fairly quickly. I keep mentioning their improvement each week; they are certainly a better unit than in 2009. However, that level of improvement hasn?t got them to the stage of being competitive with the top handful of Arrive Alive Women?s Premier League sides. I still believe that they are capable of causing an upset or two as the season progresses.
ILLAWARRA STINGRAYS 5 (M.Carney 25M/35M/47M, S.Muscat 38m, T.Kramer 69m)
Manly United FC ventured to South Nowra for their clash with Southern Branch.
Southern Branch?s season of woe continued with the Arrive Alive Women?s Premier League competition leaders Manly giving them a 7-0 beating.
I?m sure that the Southern girls and their Coach, Shane Duffy, would not be looking for sympathy. However, it?s hard not to feel some for them. Things do not appear to be getting any better for the side and the season has a long way to go. Hopefully things will start looking up for Southern Branch soon.
Manly United FC continues their march atop the ladder. Next weekend is crunch time though when they welcome the defending Arrive Alive Women?s Premier League Champions, the Illawarra Stingrays, to Cromer Park. What a mega match that should be! The Manly performance today was highlighted by a fine hat trick by Manly?s evergreen Captain, Gill Foster.
I apologise that, whilst I have a list of goalscorers for Manly, I do not have any other details concerning this match.
MANLY UNITED FC    7 (G.Foster 3, E.Bates, P.Ingles, H.Van Weeren, T.Powell)
This was a weekend of football with plenty of highlights. However, it may all be something of an entree for next weekend when the two unbeaten sides of 2010 come together at Cromer Park. Manly United FC v Illawarra Stingrays promises plenty. It should be a super game of football.
I look forward to seeing you all at a match next Sunday.
-By Ross Anderson