Two months down in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Women’s season and the competition is fierce, fiesty and filled with drama every week.
Round 8 sees teams try to claw their way back to form, winning streaks head on the line and the two unbeaten sides face stern tests.
Match of the Round: UNSW FC vs Sutherland Shire FA, Sunday 28 April, 3pm, Wentworth Park
The Match of the Round this weekend heads out to Wentworth Park. UNSW FC try to get themselves back on track against the tall order of the unbeaten Sutherland Shire FA on Sunday afternoon.
Shire FA kept themselves unbeaten with a 1-nil success on Easter Sunday against a game Central Coast Mariners side. For UNSW FC, it was a case of being blown away by a rampant APIA side, 4-nil on Monday afternoon.
Training for the visitors has looked a lot like a causality ward in recent weeks with their injuries but Dragan Blazevic still has the side chugging along well. Shire FA remain tussling with Gladesville at the top, finding goals from across the park. Their results have been close recently so they need to remain alert to avoid adding a 1 to that five wins and two draws.
For Uni, Alex Nolan knows the season is fading faster than some heroes in a recent Marvel movie. The bad results have piled up after their solid start to the season, now they’re tenth and need a spark. Nolan could look to Jessie Kuang and Alexandra O’Rourke for a spark to rejuvenate their season.
Western NSW Mariners vs Marconi Stallions, Sunday 28 April, 3pm, Proctor Park
Round 8 kicks off in beautiful Bathurst. Western NSW Mariners welcome Marconi Stallions to Proctor Park for a vital contest in the chase for the top five on Sunday afternoon.
Headed back home after their 1-1 draw with Nepean FC, Western NSW Mariners hold onto fifth spot, now welcome a chastened Marconi Stallions, after their 3-2 loss to SD Raiders, aiming to take that spot this weekend.
Much of the plaudits have gone to Mariners striker Anna Hunt with her goals but the work from the midfield, especially through Brydie Comiskey and Teegan Courtney, create the platform for the youngster to find the back of the net which is needed against the Stallions.
Scoring goals hasn’t been the issue all season for Marconi. The Stallions are one of the more prolific net-finders in the competition, but they need to support their defense and goalkeeper to stem the tide and turn these losses into either shared points or a victory.
Inter Lions vs Nepean FC, Sunday 28 April, 3pm, Concord Oval
After their heavy workload in recent weeks, Nepean FC head out to Concord Oval for their next challenge, taking on Inter Lions in an interesting contest on Sunday afternoon.
The visitors 1-1 draw against Western NSW Mariners made it three draws on the spin for the finals-chasing side whilst Inter Lions suffered a 3-1 defeat in their trip to Nowra on Monday afternoon.
Nepean FC will have pounded the training nets during the week, as they look to turn this fling with the woodwork into a meaningful goal relationship. Britney Pelle was a constant threat down the wing, her combo with Stefanie Trovato and Imogen Lane could spell goals this weekend.
These results don’t fall, they crash around Inter Lions. The visitors have battled hard across the first two months, finding the odd goal through Natalie Hardas and Natasha Camporeale. Now, they have to remain stout at the back, frustrate Nepean and possibly pick up their first points.
Central Coast Mariners vs Southern Branch FC, Sunday 28 April, 3pm, Pluim Park
Two sides looking to vault themselves up the ladder do battle at Pluim Park on Sunday afternoon. Central Coast Mariners host Southern Branch FC in a vital contest.
The rough trot continued for Central Coast Mariners as they succumbed to a close 1-nil lose to Sutherland Shire FA on Easter Sunday whilst Southern Branch FC moved themselves into ninth after their 3-1 success against Inter Lions.
Last month has been a purple patch for Southern Branch FC. Both Meredith Cheyne and Matilda Potter have starred alongside their young core which brought them their second win and the form to possibly cause the upset on the coast.
Dan Barrett knows his young side can deliver performance – they showed in both their draw with Gladesville and the tense loss to Shire FA – so now it’s about adding some goals. Earlier this season, Danielle Wise and Indianna Auddino both were regular scorers and can rediscover their touch.
Gladesville Ravens vs SD Raiders FC, Sunday 28 April, 6pm, Christie Park
Under the bright lights of Christie Park, unbeaten Gladesville Ravens host a surging SD Raiders FC in a mouth-watering clash to take place on Sunday night.
Both sides come into the contest in prime form – Gladesville Ravens thumped St George FC 6-nil to remain unbeaten. SD Raiders FC took their streak to four games in a 5-goal thriller against Marconi Stallions – has the game set up as an exciting one.
Ravens midfielder Yume Kashima showed her full range of tricks with her hat-trick last week against the Saints. Kasia Wojtowicz and Annalise Schiraldi were both on the scoresheet as well thus makes for plenty of options for SD Raiders to shut down.
SD Raiders won’t back down though. Sitting third, they are in sparkling form. Goalkeeper Natasha Pentecost gives them a solid platform to build from, the weapons upfront of Sarah Mandile and Tara Baudana, SD Raiders are equipped to create shockwaves if they can upset the unbeaten leaders on Sunday.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers vs St George FC, Sunday 28 April, 7pm, Lambert Park
APIA Leichhardt Tigers look to keep the good times rolling on, as they host St George FC in the final contest of Round 8 at Lambert Park on Sunday night.
The Tigers sharpened their claws in a 4-nil result against UNSW FC to make it six games unbeaten, to sit in fourth position. For St George FC, they bore the brunt of the Gladesville Ravens attack in a 6-nil defeat and look to bounce back.
It’s a busy week for St George FC. They have a mid-week catch up against Central Coast then visit one of the tougher grounds in Lambert Park, and a Tigers side firing on all cylinders. The Saints need their defense to hold firm, use the skills of Yadira Renfigo and Marissa Nicopoulos to nick a goal on the counter.
APIA have formed into a NPL2 Womens version of the megazord in their recent form. Georgia Bridges, Ash Palombi and Logan Garard have plundered goals for fun in recent weeks. Add to that, Lucy Gilfedder and Jessica Fallah in the midfield, they should continue their winning ways and stay in sight of the leaders.
-By Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)