There was action aplenty as the girls went into battle.
Mills Park was the scene of this week?s Arrive Alive Women?s Super League Match of the Day between Northern Tigers and Blacktown Spartans.
After some early Tigers raids Blacktown dominated territorially in the opening minutes. Whilst they found themselves around the edges of The Tigers penalty box Blacktown weren?t able to fashion any serious threats on goal.
Gabby Dal Pazzo was prominent in the opening exchanges for Northern Tigers as the home side looked to get into the tempo of the game. Both sides were playing quite direct early. Some nice play saw a cross by Chelsea Docherty met in front of goal by the speedy Rachael Lewis but she was called offside. Gabby Dal Pazzo also managed to work herself into shooting range but her effort was comfortably held by the Blacktown keeper.
As the game started to even itself out the two teams fought hard to create an advantage. A fine run by Caitlin Mahony out of defence ended with her shot sailing wide of the goal. The Tigers had the more telling opportunities but their shooting left something to be desired. A long range effort from Gabby Dal Pozzo tested Spartans? keeper Yeliz Dogan but was safely held. Any thoughts that Blacktown may have had about an easy afternoon had quickly evaporated with the Northern Tigers spirited start.
The two teams swapped corners but neither to telling effect. It wasn?t really happening in the final third for either side. Some bright play from Lauren Vosota saw Amanda Xeureb break clear down the left flank but her shot was astray.
Gabby Dal Pozzo finished some more attacking work from The Tigers with a long distance hit which was high and wide of goal. This looked like developing into a hard slog with the two teams trading play around the middle of the park. Some enterprising play from the home side involving Bianca Howarth and Rachael Lewis came to nought but showed that The Tigers presented plenty of danger for the Blacktown defence. The Spartans returned serve though with a free kick bringing a stinging shot from Spartan Beth Claasens which was saved by Tigers keeper Rebecca Woodruff.
More good work involving Lewis and Dal Pozzo opened up Blacktown but Dal Pozzo?s shot left her burying her head in her hands. Lewis?s pace certainly proved a worry to The Spartans left side defence.
Speaking of defence, Bronwyn Jarvis was a rock for Blacktown whilst Alice Wilson and Maddison Lord were proving similarly tough for The Tigers. A fine run by Lauren Sparkes of Blacktown made big inroads into the Northern Tigers defence with her cross met by a sliding Lauren Vosota. Fortunately for Tigers their keeper was on the ball and defused any danger.
Despite the best efforts from both teams the first half ended scoreless but the crowd was left satisfied with 45 minutes of very competitive football.
Blacktown resumed the second half with a couple of changes, bringing Captain Bronwyn Jarvis closer to the action by moving her to midfield. Maryanne Mikhail had replaced Erin Connell and took up the role of sweeper. Kim Pope also entered the fray for Beth Claasens.
From a Blacktown throw in Lauren Vosota used her blistering pace to get around the defence. Her cross landed right in front of goal but the Northern Tigers defence was able to clear the danger. Vosota was at it again soon after with her cross being mishit in front of goal by her advancing team mates. Blacktown had started this half with a lot more conviction. They looked very dangerous.
The Tigers then won a corner which Rachael Lewis launched into the goal mouth. Blacktown didn?t handle things convincingly but did manage to clear the danger. Northern Tigers experienced a period of ascendancy. However, they were unable to trouble the Blacktown keeper Dogan.
A perfect ball from Rachael Lewis found Dal Pozzo in front of goal but The Tigers striker?s first touch let her down. At the other end of the park Lauren Vosota ?s pace again proved troublesome for the locals as she burst down the flank before cutting back along the goal line. However her sharply angled shot was held but the Northern Tigers keeper.
Play was now going end to end as each side searched for the breakthrough. Bronwyn Jarvis pounced on a loose ball at the end of the Northern Tigers box but her shot was wide.
In the 69th minute Northern Tigers failed to clear a ball inside their own half. The Spartans were quickly onto the ball with Lauren Vosota breaking clear into a one on one situation with the keeper. She dribbled around the custodian before putting her shot into the back of the net for the opening goal of the match. Blacktown had grabbed a 1-0 lead.
The pressure was now on the Northern Tigers to respond. However, Blacktown had been buoyed by their goal and looked as if they could, in fact, add another. The explosive pace of Vosota was something that Blacktown exploited at every opportunity. The Tigers were having big problems trying to contain The Spartans attacker. The Tigers now replaced Bianca Howarth with Kristina Orlic.
Vosota and Jarvis then combined with Jarvis?s cross being back heeled by Xuereb to the keeper. The Tigers now replaced Maddison Lord with Samantha Greentree. The locals needed to find a way back into the match. The Spartans were now playing much better football and dominating the game.
Replacements were now coming thick and fast as both coaches were forced to clear their benches. The Spartans lost Zineta De Beers who was replaced by Megan Bertenshaw whilst The Tigers substituted Rehana Nathwani and Melanie Baird into the game.
It was still Blacktown creating the better opportunities though. The Spartans had The Tigers pegged down in their own half and continually under pressure. The pace of the Blacktown attacking force was just too much for The Tigers to handle. The Tigers last change saw Ashleigh Trupiano come into the match for the final minutes.
The full time whistle brought joy for the Blacktown Spartans supporters as their side came out 1-0 winners.
Blacktown Spartans Captain Bronwyn Jarvis admitted that her team had not started well. However, she felt that changes made at half time worked to her side?s advantage, helping them to pick up their game. ?The Tigers really brought the game to us? said Jarvis. The Spartan?s star expressed some relief in leaving Mills Park with the three competition points.
Rachael Lewis, Captain of the Northern Tigers said that this had been a tough game. Lewis felt that both sides had played well but neither had finished their opportunities well. ?We needed to maintain possession and support better than we did? said Lewis.
There wasn?t much in this game but I think it?s fair to say that the better side won on the day. Whilst Blacktown wouldn?t have been overly happy with their performance but they did lift when it counted in the second half. The Tigers put in a fine effort. A little more experience in some key positions would help the young Tigers immeasurably.
NORTHERN TIGERS 0
BLACKTOWN SPARTANS 1(L.Vosota 69m)
At Magdala Park the competition leading Gladesville Ravens found the going tough against St George FC.
After a scoreless first half where St George put it right to The Ravens Gladesville Coach Paul Wade made a number of changes which seemed to spark the home side into action.
In the 54th minute Georgena Atallah found herself in the right place at the right time to score the opening goal. Gladesville now played with much more conviction but couldn?t add to their tally against a spirited St George team.
But, in the 77th minute, Gladesville?s driving force Ashley Hulme was on the end of an Elizabeth Talarico free kick to head away The Ravens second goal. Hulme followed this up in the 89th minute with another fine effort to cement a 3-0 win for the locals.
This was a good effort by St George FC but Gladesville were too good when it came to the crunch.
GLADESVILLE RAVENS 3 (G.Atallah 54m, A.Hulme 77m/89m)
ST GEORGE FC 0
At Melita Stadium the Lady Hawks fell behind to a 15th minute goal by APIA?s midfield maestro Natalie Spirovski. Kylie Meehan added a second five minutes later which left the home side a big mountain to climb.
With the APIA side holding a 2-0 lead at half time the game looked to be theirs to win. But the Lady Hawks put a scare into the visitors when Gina Ryanhart grabbed a goal back for the home side in the 65th minute.
This only sparked APIA into action though with goals to Cameron in the 72nd minute and Derooy in the 87th minute. Just to rub salt into the Lady Hawks wounds Kylie Meehan added the fifth and final goal in the 89th minute to leave APIA convincing winners.
APIA appeared to do as much as they needed to do to take the points. Lady Hawks tried hard but weren?t able to match APIA?s ample firepower.
LADY HAWKS 1 (G.Ryanhart 65m)
APIA LEICHHARDT TIGERS 5 (N.Spirovski 15m, K.Meehan 20m/89m, J.Cameron 72m, G.Derooy 87m)
At Summerhayes Park Central Coast Lightning, fresh from a midweek win over Northern Tigers, took on Springwood United FC.
Unfortunately I?ve received little detail regarding this match other than the fact that Central Coast Lightning ran out 5-0 winners. Goals to Keane, Morris and a hat trick to Swinfield helped The Lightning put paid to the locals who were put through another disappointing afternoon.
The win consolidates Central Coast?s spot in the top four. Springwood continues to chase their first competition points of 2010.
SPRINGWOOD UNITED 0
CENTRAL COAST LIGHTNING 5 (M.Swinfield 3, R.Keane, A.Morris)
Eastern UNSW Lions had the bye this weekend.
The second and third sides on the ladder face off midweek when APIA and Blacktown play a catch up match at Francis Park. A clear second place, one point from the competition lead, awaits the victors. It?s sure to be a great match and I hope to be able to bring you a result during the week.
A five point gap has now opened up between the top four and the rest of the teams in the Arrive Alive Women?s Super League. Can the chasers reel in the top four runaways? Only time will tell.
See you all next week.
-By Ross Anderson