Round 16 saw Southern Branch continue their outstanding run of form when they took on Sydney Olympic, while UNSW and Inter couldn’t be split in a tight encounter at David Phillips.
Elsewhere, weather again spoiled a match with top billing as Nepean’s match with Marconi was washed out, and in the match of the round Sutherland put in an excellent display away from home against the Northern Tigers.
Northern Tigers FC v Sutherland Shire FA, 3pm Sunday 12th July at Mills Park
Sutherland Shire cemented their place in the top 4 thanks to a dominant display against the Northern Tigers at Mills Park. The 3-1 win lifts Sutherland into 4th, while the loss for the Tigers leaves them 2 wins out of a finals place.
Sutherland made a statement virtually from the kick off, with Rochelle Borremeo opening the scoring from the first attack of the game. Borremeo timed her run perfectly, and a cushioned pass form the edge of the box found her feet before she calmly chipped the ball across the onrushing goalkeeper and into the bottom corner.
Sutherland dominated the opening exchanges and should have doubled their lead on 15 minutes when Borremeo played in Raegan Deeley. Deeley was clipped as she entered the box and could have easily gone down for a penalty, but she kept her feet and forced Tigers goalkeeper Matilda Eder into a fine save at her near post.
25 minutes in Sutherland almost scored one of the goals of the season. Starting at left back with a Kate Dale and Toni Vukasin one-two, Sutherland played a series of one touch passes that made the Tigers look like training cones. The move ended with a delightful through ball for Borremeo, but as she rounded the ‘keeper her touch took her wide and she could only hit the outside of the post with her finish.
The Tigers couldn’t get into the game at all in the first half, and they found it extremely difficult to find any fluency in their attacking game. Their only half chances came when Sutherland were a little over confident playing the ball out, but even then they couldn’t force a serious save from Brianna Griffin in the Sutherland goal.
1-0 at half time to Sutherland.
The second half got off to a cagey start, as both teams struggled to find their rhythm early on.
Northern Tigers were the first to strike, when on 57 minutes they levelled the scores through left winger Molly Woods. A sweeping counter attack from the Tigers saw the ball find its way to Tigers captain Jesse Wharepouri on the right wing, where she proceeded to cut in on her left foot and float a tempting ball to the far post where the unmarked Woods directed her header into the bottom corner from inside the 6 yard box.
Sutherland were quick to re-establish their lead though, scoring their second almost immediately. The ball was swung in from a Sutherland corner, and the Tigers defence failed to clear their lines in time as Deeley was on hand to smash the ball home from 12 yards.
Sutherland would have a few more chances to kill the game off before Borremeo sealed the points in the 76th minute with her 2nd goal of the game to make the score 3-1. Another corner for Sutherland and this time the ball found Borremeo completely unmarked 6 yards from goal, and she took the ball first time on her left foot, volleying it just under the crossbar. A calm and composed finish sealing the match for the away side.
Any hope for the Tigers was well and truly gone in the 80th minute when Emily Usherwood was shown a straight red card for dissent after she enthusiastically queried the referee over a decision that went against her.
Griffin was forced into an excellent smothering save in injury time, but that was all the fight the Tigers could muster before the referee ended the match.
3-1 the final score and a well-deserved win for Sutherland after their dominant performance.
Southern Branch FC v Sydney Olympic FC, 3pm Sunday 12th July at South Nowra Football Complex
Southern Branch have continued their red hot form with a thrilling 5-3 victory over Sydney Olympic. The Nowra side took a 2-0 lead into half time before Olympic attempted an almighty comeback in the second half, with the sides trading goals up until full time. The win for Southern Branch shows that they are truly a force to be reckoned with now as they move into outright second place. 1 point from their last 3 games has seen Olympic drop to 3rd, and they need to regain some form over the few remaining weeks of the season.
UNSW Lions v Inter Lions SC, 3pm Sunday 12th July at David Phillips Field
It was all square at David Phillips as UNSW and Inter played out a 2-2 draw. UNSW will welcome a point given their recent run of poor form, but they still remain a win away from getting off the bottom of the table, and look to be playing for pride for the remainder of the season. Goals from Danyelle Pringle and Maria Kalogeropoulos were enough for Inter overtake Nepean on goal difference and move into 5th spot. Inter may see this as two points dropped given their recent performances, as a win here meant they would have kept pace with Sutherland.
Nepean FC v Marconi Stallions FC, 3pm Sunday 12th July at Cook Park
Round 13 catch up fixture: Northern Tigers FC v Sydney Olympic FC, 8pm Thursday 9th July at Mills Park
The Tigers defeated Olympic 3-1 at Mills Park last Thursday night. 2 goals from Molly Wood and 1 for Ester Pannwitz were enough to cancel out Danielle Calvi’s goal for the away side.
Sutherland Shire defeated Northern Tigers 2-1, Sydney Olympic defeated Southern Branch 1-0, and Inter defeated UNSW 2-0. Nepean and Marconi was washed out due to inclement weather at Cook Park.
-By Eamonn Warner, PS4 National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s 2 Reporter