Round 14 Review – PS4 NPL 2 NSW Women’s


A very big weekend at the top of the table this weekend in the PlayStation® 4 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Women’s 2016.
In the match of the round, Inter Lions put on a tactical master class against Sutherland as they tightened their grip on first spot, and Southern Branch were too much for a weary Nepean. Elsewhere, Northern Tigers racked up another impressive win against the Mariners, and Olympic shared the points with Bankstown in a 6 goal thriller.
Match of the Round:
Sutherland Shire FA vs Inter Lions SC, 3pm, Sunday July 3rd at Harrie Denning Centre
Sutherland welcomed Inter in a top of the table clash that was sure to have huge ramifications on the outcome of the premiership race in season 2016.
Sutherland started well straight from the kick off with Toni Vukasin playing a gorgeous through ball for Rochelle Borromeo who timed her run to perfection before she was cut down by Inter central defender Danielle Watson on the edge of the box. Fortunately for Inter, Watson escaped a yellow card and Sutherland forward Verity Quartermain couldn’t make the most of the free kick.
Sutherland were keen to keep the ball under their control at all costs, which suited Inter perfectly as they would simply shift their midfield and defensive lines across the field looking to cut off any Sutherland passing options.
Sutherland wouldn’t be rushed into mistakes though, and so the half became a game of cat and mouse as both teams found themselves looking reasonably comfortable with how things were going.
The home side though weren’t moving the ball quickly enough and as a result couldn’t cut through Inter’s lines to create danger. As the half went on, Inter lifted their intensity slightly and began forcing errors from the home side, opening up half chances that they couldn’t quite capitalise on.
The best chance of the half would fall to Jessica Ellis of Sutherland. Some excellent hold up work from Quartermain on halfway created space for the pacey winger to run in behind Inter’s backline. Quartermain found her with a well weighted through ball, and bearing down upon goal Ellis chose to square the ball to Borromeo who would have had a tap in. At the last moment though she overbalanced, and the ball skewed between the far post and Borromeo and out for a goal kick.
A fantastic chance wasted that Sutherland would come to regret.
Inter really stepped things up in the second half. Their pressing was a little tighter, a little more aggressive, and Sutherland couldn’t find a way through. Inter were cutting out Sutherland’s ability to switch the play across their backline, which forced a number of rushed long balls that Inter were able to clear up with ease.
The first great chance for the Lions fell to forward Rhonda Succar. Zoe Zaczek made a penetrating run down the right hand side before dinking a super ball across for Succar, but she could only launch her header skyward and over the goals.
Inter were well on top by this point though, with Sutherland struggling to get past half way in possession. Inter’s shape and discipline were magnificent, stifling Sutherland’s attempts to play out from the back at every turn.
The pressure almost resulted in a horror own goal from Annelotte Birdsall, who turned inside to play back to her goalkeeper and struck the pass far too hard. Luckily for the home side the ball wasn’t in line with the goal, otherwise it would have been a disaster.
The goal came shortly after though, as Succar made up for her missed chance earlier by burying an almost identical header. Superb work in the corner from Sarah Mandile and Zaczek retained possession for Inter high up the park, allowing Zaczek to dart in behind and chip another wonderful cross, clearing Bianca Alchi in the Sutherland goal and falling right onto the head of Succar two yards out from goal.
Cue a massive celebration from Inter as they finally got the goal that their excellent game plan deserved with 20 minutes to go.
Inter sat back a little now and let Sutherland come at them, and produced several chances on the break that could have easily doubled their advantage. They were never any real chance of letting the lead slip as Sutherland looked flustered and a bit paralysed as they continued to try and play their game to no avail.
Inter frustrated them on their own turf and they didn’t have an answer for it as the Lions held onto their lead comfortably until the final whistle, leaving Harrie Denning with the win and a 4 point lead at the top of the table.
Southern Branch FC vs Nepean FC, 3pm, Sunday July 3rd at South Nowra Football Complex
Backing up from midweek was always going to be a big ask for Nepean, and unfortunately for them they’ve come up short against Southern Branch down in Nowra.  A lone goal from Jessica Beahan was enough for the home side to get over the line and register a much needed win for the team from the south coast.
Southern need to build on this in the coming weeks if they are to taste finals football in 2016, while for Nepean they have to try and find some goals from somewhere to challenge. The lack of cutting edge up front has hurt them in recent weeks and they risk squandering what was a great opening third to the season.
Sydney Olympic FC vs Bankstown City FC, 3pm Sunday July 3rd at Peter Moore Park
A cracking game, but a missed opportunity for Sydney Olympic to gain significant ground on Sutherland in second spot as they played out a 3-3 draw with Bankstown City. There were goal scorers all over the pitch in this one, so there was always a chance of a shootout like this occurring. Gilian Bartlett, and Kate Halaska got on the scoresheet for the home side, while Freya Hickey also got in on the action with her first goal for her new club since the mid-season switch from Inter.
For Bankstown, Tania Babain, Liana Babic, and skipper Samantha Muscat found the back of the net to earn them a point. A good result for Bankstown considering the opposition, but they remain in 7th position on the ladder after Southern’s victory over Nepean. 
Central Coast Mariners FC vs Northern Tigers FC, 2.05pm, Sunday July 3rd at Pluim Park NO.3
The Mariners weren’t able to cause an upset this weekend as they went down 4-1 to the Northern Tigers up in Gosford. A tight first half saw the sides go into the break with the score at 2-1, with the home side’s goal coming courtesy of Abby Bales, before the Tigers ran away with it in the second half.
Ellana Balicki, Alycia Macqueen, Hannah Mcnulty, and Carly Ussher bagged goals for the Tigers in yet another example of how they’ve been sharing them around this season. It’s a real asset to not rely on any one individual to provide magic, and gives the Tigers an edge over a couple of the top teams as they chase a finals position.
Round 10:
Sutherland Shire FA vs Nepean FC, 8.15pm Thursday June 30th at Seymour Shaw
Stalemate between these two in their Round 10 catch up match as neither side could bother the scorers. The draw here wasn’t a fantastic result for either side, with Sutherland looking to gain ground on Inter, and Nepean needing maximum points to keep themselves in pole position for a finals berth.
It would prove to be the start of a forgettable weekend for both sides.
Reserve Grade:
Inter Lions survived a late fight back to hold on for a 3-2 win against Sutherland, Bankstown defeated Olympic 1-0, while on the south coast Nepean overcame Southern in a 3-2 thriller. Northern Tigers had the bye.
By Eamonn Warner, PS4 National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Women’s Reporter