Rain, rain go away as National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Women’s sides hope the washouts which wiped out much of Round 2 don’t materialise again for Round 3 and spoil what shapes up to be another exciting weekend of NPL2 Womens action.
Western NSW Mariners vs Sutherland Shire FA, Sunday 24 March, 1:35pm, Marjorie Jackson Field
The round kicks off in Lithgow, as Western NSW Mariners aim to build on their point as they tussle with Sutherland Shire FA at Marjorie Jackson Field on Sunday afternoon.
The Mariners got themselves off the duck egg when a late Larissa Kilby header earnt them a point against a tough UNSW FC side. Sutherland Shire FA had their home opener washed out against APIA Leichhardt Tigers, nice and fresh for the trip to the central west.
Mariners coach Josh Ward enjoyed an improved performance from his side in their home opener. The return of Anna Hunt helped their cause with her goal. Against Shire FA, it will be a tough afternoon for custodian Jess Daymond to repel a potent Shire attack and maybe claim the first upset of the season.
For Shire FA, they will simply need to just pick up where they left off. Seven goals in their opening fixture is one way to send a message about their intent on the season. After their sorrowful season in NPL1, they got back the joy of victory and have both Jordan Baker and Brittany Christie firing already in what works out to be an intriguing fixture to kick off the weekend.
Marconi Stallions vs Inter Lions, Sunday 24 March, 3pm, Marconi Stadium
Marconi get a chance at redemption at home, they welcome Inter Lions to Marconi Stadium, as both teams aim to get there seasons off to a start this weekend.
Both teams have had a fortnight to stew on their Round 1 losses, the Stallions were handed a 7-1 loss from Sutherland Shire FA meanwhile Inter Lions fell narrowly, 2-nil, to UNSW FC on a steamy afternoon.
The Stallions will be out to show they are better than their last home result. New signing Jasmin Courtenay will be keen to open her account, as will strike partner Jess Beale. Meanwhile, Inter Lions hope they can keep things compact against the more fancied Stallions and possibly continue the home sides woes on Sunday afternoon.
UNSW FC vs St George FC, Sunday 24 March, 3pm, Wentworth Park
It’s home time for UNSW FC! After two away trips, the goalposts are up at Wentworth Park, ready for them to take on St George FC, on Sunday afternoon in the final of the 3pm kick-offs.
Four points in a good return for UNSW FC in their first two games after a 2-2 draw forced them to share points against Western NSW Mariners. For St George FC, it was back to the drawing board after a 3-1 loss to Nepean FC in Round 1.
The students took a while to get going last week, but coach Alex Nolan is confident in the set-up of the side and their response to going behind. They face another challenge against a burnt Saints side, starting the contest quickly and continue their impressive start to the season, in their first home game of the season.
St George FC had a poor start to last season which doomed them by the halfway point. They will be keen to avoid a similar fate in 2019, and pick up some points on the road early in the campaign. If they can keep the game tight at the back then feed Yadira Renfigo and Amy Bennett up front, it makes for an interesting contest at Wentworth Park.
Central Coast Mariners vs SD Raiders FC, Sunday 24 March, 4pm, Pluim Park
We have a semi-final rematch set up as SD Raiders, take a trip to the Central Coast, taking on the Mariners at Pluim Park on Sunday afternoon.
Both sides will look to build on their first start victories – Mariners defeating their sister club Western NSW whilst SD Raiders had a comfortable 4-nil success against Southern Branch FC – now the two heavyweight clubs have an early season clash.
Mariners hope to welcome back some troops with the extra week off, with some senior players to come back. In their stead, the younger brigade led by double hero, Indianna Auddino, alongside new recruit, Danielle Wise will keep SD Raiders keeper, Natasha Pentecost – who pulled off some remarkable saves last season for Inter Lions – busy across the afternoon.
For SD Raiders, they held a healthy advantage over Mariners last season, triumphing in both the regular season performances before the yellow-and-navy snuck home in the semi-final. They head to Pluim Park confident, and in form, after their performance in Nowra which included a debut goal for Tara Baudana. So, we’re set for a wonderful exhibition of football with hopefully some sunshine on the coast.
Gladesville Ravens vs Nepean FC, Sunday 24 March, 6pm, Christie Park
Nepean FC head to Christie Park looking to clip Gladesville Ravens wings on Sunday night in a battle between two finals aspirants, keen to build off their early success.
Gladesville were one of the few to get on the pitch last weekend, registering a 10-nil tonking of Southern Branch FC, down in Nowra whilst the field closed sign was dug deep into the Cook Park turf after the deluge in Sydney last week.
Emily Diaz continued her strong start to the season, six goals in two games is an impressive return for any striker. She has some strong support in midfielder Yume Kashima – who bagged a brace herself – and Amelia Vitek which will pose a big threat for a Nepean FC defense to handle.
The visitors were one of the stronger defensive units in 2018, marshalled by Desiree Vassallo, need to keep their mettle against a potent attack. Nepean FC have their own weapons at their disposal with Stefanie Trovato, Britney Pelle and youngster Imogen Lane to make for an entertaining contest at Christie Park.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers vs Southern Branch FC, Sunday 24 March, 7pm, Lambert Park
It’s a tough ask for Southern Branch FC, they make the tough trip to Lambert Park, taking on a rested APIA Leichhardt Tigers, in the league’s nightcap under the bright lights.
APIA have had two weeks to lick their wounds after their 2-1 defeat to Gladesville Ravens in Round 1’s Match of the Round but may have a spring in their step, seeing that Southern Branch FC conceded 14 goals in their two opening fixtures, ready to pounce.
In patches, APIA looked their slick selves in the Ravens defeat. Georgia Bridges had an encouraging debut, former SD Raiders trio led by Cass Chidgey were energetic. They will eye off a fixture against the previously mentioned porous Southern Branch FC side, to gain confidence and their first three points of the season.
Regarding the visitors, it has been a tough opening fortnight. There is plenty of talent developing down on the south coast and they will want to find some positives in their play, maybe find the back of the net a few times against one of the competition front runners.
By Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)