The top sides are starting to show their class after round 8 of the Playstation® 4 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Women’s.
the table is by no means set in stone at this stage of the year, it remains to be seen if the chasing pack can keep up with the leaders as we reach the middle portion of the year.
Round 8 saw Inter Lions travel to Central Coast, Bankstown play host to Southern Branch, and Sutherland were tested again when they hosted the ever tricky Sydney Olympic at Harrie Denning.
The match of the round saw Nepean travel to a resurgent Northern Tigers.
Before that though the Tigers travelled to Olympic for a midweek fixture.
Sydney Olympic FC vs Northern Tigers, 7.15pm Wednesday May 18th at Peter Moore Park
Olympic got the 3 points at home to the Tigers on Wednesday night. Danielle Calvi was the lone goal scorer on the night as her team bounced back well from their weekend loss to Sutherland.
Tough result for the Tigers given their recent good form, and perhaps a reality check against one of the quality sides of the competition.
Match of the round:
Northern Tigers FC vs Nepean FC, 3pm Sunday May 22nd at Mills Park
The Tigers started off the game really well, moving the ball around nicely across the back and keeping control of things early on.
There was a scare for Nepean early as the first corner of the match nearly snuck in at the near post, but Nepean ‘keeper Danielle Bartels was alert to the danger and scrambled across to smother the ball away after it beat the defender guarding the line.
The Tigers were on top, and they created the first chance of the match down their left hand side. Ella Gibson found space on the left, cutting the ball back for Emma Watkins, who just nipped in front of the defender the give herself space to get a shot away from a difficult angle. It was comfortably dealt with by Bartels, but it was a sign of the danger that the Tigers would pose throughout the half.
Nepean were losing the midfield battle, and a reshuffle of the side may have hurt them here. Hollie Wilson was missing from defence due to suspension, which forced her sister Paige to drop from her usual central midfield role into central defence. As a result the midfield lacked a little bit of the energy and sting that it generally does, and it made things easier for the Tigers to control the tempo of the half.
Despite this Nepean took the lead after 22 minutes. Rachel Cavanagh – who was up front today in place of usual centre forward Lauren Connell – used her blistering pace to chase down a hopeful through ball. She just beat the covering defence to the pass and with her first touch cut back inside onto her right foot before curling a wonderful effort over the despairing goalkeeper Kate Anthonisz and into the top corner. Exceptional goal and a real sucker punch for the Tigers.
That was the last bit of joy for the away side in the first half as the Tigers tightened their grip on the contest. They were consistently looking dangerous down both flanks, isolating the Nepean full backs and looking to cut the ball back for their midfielders to run onto. Hannah Mcnulty had the best chance they created for the half after the ball was rolled into her feet. She shielded the ball and used her body to roll passed Desiree Vassallo, but the ensuing pressure from the Nepean captain forced her to take an extra touch, allowing the shot to be blocked.
The Tigers seemed to lack a bit of composure in the closing minutes of the half, choosing to shoot from distance when they could have tried to play through to create a clear cut opportunity.
The second half began much like the first with the Tigers enjoying the majority of possession, with Nepean forced into the spoiling role as they looked for opportunities to hit on the counter.
The Tigers were pushing, but they couldn’t get things to work in the final third. Once again they resorted to pot shots from distance when they may have been better off trying to open Nepean up with some of their at times excellent ball movement.
They paid the price midway through the half when Nepean once again scored from nothing to take a 2-0 lead. Cavanagh flicked a loose ball over the top for the run of Kaitlin Harms who drove the ball across goals for the onrushing Alix Waddell at the far post who had the simplest of finishes as she tapped the ball into the open net.
The second goal was a real body blow for the Tigers as once again they looked well on top in the match. Because of that Nepean started to gain some ascendancy, and as the Tigers started to wain Nepean stepped things up a gear in an effort to put an end to the contest once and for all.
The push nearly paid dividends for Nepean as they were continually dangerous on the break, but they made their move too early and were out of gas for the last 10 minutes, opening the door for the Tigers.
Elinor Rothie Clark almost brought them back into the game after some tidy work on the edge of the box, but Bartels was able to cut down the angle and forced her shot wide. Clark would be rewarded in the 90th minute though.
Josie Wilson had switched to the left flank, and she outpaced Vassallo chasing down a long ball, and her teasing cross drew everyone including Bartels to the ball. Clark was steaming in and slid full length, just getting her toe to the ball and virtually taking it out of the goalkeeper’s hands and into the empty net.
The Tigers had their lifeline, but unfortunately for the home side they couldn’t muster another chance before the full time whistle went, and it proved too little too late.
A very gutsy win from an understrength Nepean against the inform Tigers this afternoon. 2-1 perhaps a fair reflection on the contest in the end, despite the home side controlling the match for large portions.
Central Coast Mariners FC vs Inter Lions SC, 2.05pm Sunday May 22nd at Pluim Park NO.3
Central Coast remains winless after going down 2-0 at home to the Inter Lions. An improvement on the last two results is something to be happy about for the Mariners, but they still can’t find a way to get off the mark for the season. Still, the Lions are a difficult opponent, and if they keep working hard the results will start to fall their way.
Inter hold onto second spot thanks to the win and keep within a point of frontrunner’s Sutherland. Freya Hickey showed once again what she can do when the side look to play through her up front, scoring another goal for the year, with Rhonda Succar with the other goal in the match.
Sutherland Shire FA vs Sydney Olympic FC, 3pm Sunday May 22nd at the Harrie Denning Centre
Sutherland passed another huge test with flying colours as they proved too strong for Olympic with a 2-1 victory on their home patch. A second massive win in a row for Sutherland, stamping their premiership credentials after a somewhat sluggish start to the campaign. Goals courtesy of Brittany Christie and Verity Quartermain were enough to cancel out Danielle Calvi’s first half goal and keep Sutherland on top for another week.
The end of a tough week for Olympic sees them pick up 6 points from 9, which they may have taken if you’d offered it to them. They hold onto third place, and they’ll be excited to see Calvi going on a scoring run like she has in the last few games.
Bankstown City FC vs Southern Branch FC, 3pm Sunday May 22nd at Jensen Park
Bankstown put in an excellent performance to sweep aside Southern Branch 4-0. The home side started the stronger, and were rewarded after 20 minutes when Samantha Muscat sent Sunny Lucien through on goal, and she beat ‘keeper at the near post. Tania Baban extended the lead before the break, beating two defenders before firing home. Southern were looking the goods early in the second half up until Yasemin Genc scored directly from a corner to make it 3-0, flattening the away side. Baban was rewarded again for her fine performance as a lone striker when she sealed the win, latching on the ball on halfway, leaving two defenders in her wake and finishing off the 4-0 victory.
While Southern were short of some experience due to suspensions after last weekend, this would still be a really disappointing result for one of last season’s premier sides. They haven’t lived up to their billing this year are in desperate need of a course correction of they want to make this season a successful one.
Northern Tigers defeated Nepean 1-0 thanks to a 90th minute winner, Olympic were too string away from home against Sutherland claiming a 2-0 win, and Bankstown took a 1-0 lead into half time before running out 2-1 winners over Southern Branch. Inter Lions had the bye.
By Eamonn Warner, PS4 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Women’s Reporter