This weekend throws up some fascinating contests to play out across Sunday in round 15 of the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Women’s competition.
The top four remains squeezed tighter than a peak hour Sydney train, as the others scrap for the final spot in the top five. Let’s get onto the preview.
Match of the Round: Marconi Stallions vs Gladesville Ravens, Sunday 16 June, 3pm, Marconi Stadium
The Match of the Round heads to historic Marconi Stadium where the Stallions try to knock off former competition leaders Gladesville Ravens on Sunday afternoon.
Marconi hold onto fifth by a solitary point after they romped back into form with an 8-nil success against Inter Lions. The Ravens might have had their wings clipped in a 2-1 loss in Nepean but the former leaders remain equal second.
Sunday shapes as a big contest for Marconi. From their slow start, they have found their rhythm this season, racking up a few big scores and the scalp of Sutherland Shire FA. If Matt Turvey’s side want to figure in the business end, results against the top sides need to improve starting Sunday.
Regarding the visitors, it is all hands-on deck. Injuries and form have dropped them into second but there is enough quality in their squad headlined by Yume Kashima and Kasia Wojtowicz to stack up victories in a contest that almost guarentees goals.
Western NSW Mariners vs Inter Lions, Sunday 16 June, 1:05pm, Jack Brabham Park
Kicking us off this weekend is the embattled Western NSW Mariners aiming to rediscover some form taking on a tough Inter Lions side at Jack Brabham Park Sunday afternoon.
Defeat left a bitter taste for both sides, Western NSW Mariners weren’t able to defend their home turf, losing 2-nil to Sutherland Shire FA whilst Inter Lions ended up on the end of an 8-nil scoreline against Marconi Stallions.
The Mariners head the mini-table between the bottom sides, as they look to avoid finishing rock bottom. Inter Lions sit in that spot, but spring a surprise on their day. For Mariners the key is their young striker Anna Hunt whilst Natasha Camporeale has a nose for the net for the Lions in what will be a closely fought contest.
Sutherland Shire FA vs St George FC, Sunday 16 June, 3pm, Harrie Denning Centre
The local derby takes center stage at Harrie Denning Centre. A resurgent Sutherland Shire FA will host St George FC on Sunday afternoon to lead the swathe of 3pm kick-offs.
Sutherland Shire FA got were breaking the habit last weekend, tasting victory in a 3-nil trip to Orange against Western NSW Mariners. St George FC played spoiler, as they overturned UNSW FC, 2-1 in the nightcap game.
St George FC might remain in tenth spot, but they have shown to be a nuisance for some sides above them. In the reverse fixture, they battled hard for 75 minutes with Sutherland Shire FA before a goal glut blew them away. If they can keep it tight again then strike through Yadira Renfigo or Amy Bennett, they are a chance.
The home side know they have enough strike weapons to see off the challenge of the Saints. The goalscorers from last week – Brittany Christie, Morgan Maxwell and Nicole Besz – added to the experience of Jordan Baker has Sutherland Shire FA a threat every week as they get ready for the final few months of the season.
Central Coast Mariners vs Nepean FC, Sunday 16 June, 3pm, Pluim Park
Two sides in fantastic form do battle on the coast! Nepean FC try to further their advantage on the chasing pack as they travel to Pluim Park to take on Central Coast Mariners.
It is a battle of fourth against sixth, so the contest will be fierce. Both sides are in good form, Nepean FC has ridden a huge wave of form, lastly taking out Gladesville 2-1 to sit fourth. Central Coast drew 1-1 but only remain a point outside the top five with five games unbeaten.
Everything is falling into place for Nepean FC. They have the second longest unbeaten run behind APIA, Alan Tasses has his side firing on all cylinders with Stefanie Trovato finding the back of the net for fun. The return of Lauren Gaul alongside their new additions has them thrust into contention, as they take on last year’s Grand Finalists.
For the Mariners, it is about finding the back of the net. Last week wasn’t a vintage performance but in patches, the yellow-and-navy showed through Gabrielle Blanch and Iona Snape, their quality. They will need both of them and a team-wide effort to overturn a Nepean FC full of confidence.
Southern Branch FC vs UNSW FC, Sunday 16 June, 3pm, South Nowra Football Complex
Field trip time! UNSW FC travel down to Nowra, to take on the eleventh placed Southern Branch FC down at South Nowra Football Complex.
It seemed like UNSW FC coach Alex Nolan was reliving groundhog dog, as the students held the majority of the chances but fell 2-1 to a stubborn St George FC. Southern Branch FC were the latest to fall victim to the rampant APIA side, 10-nil.
The reverse fixture was the scene of one of Southern Branch FC’s two victories this season. Now, hosting the fixture, the south coast side will lean on their senior figures – Jamie Griffin and Matilda Potter – to complete the season sweep against the inconsistent UNSW FC.
Before last week, it looked like UNSW FC had turned the corner. Whilst the result was ideal, coach Alex Nolan remained positive in the chances they created. Alexandra O’Rourke continued her form with another goal and will be needed to turn their fortunes around.
SD Raiders FC vs APIA Leichhardt Tigers, Sunday 16 June, 5pm, Ernie Smith Reserve
Finishing off the weekend is a tasty match-up. SD Raiders FC take on the flying APIA Leichhardt Tigers in a contest to play out at Ernie Smith Reserve in a Sunday twilight fixture.
Both sides come into this contest off positive results – APIA thumped Southern Branch FC 10-nil to extend their streak to 14 whilst SD Raiders produced a late flurry to snatch a 1-1 draw against Central Coast – which leaves this contest as a huge one for the fate of the top five.
Much like Goldberg through the late 90s WCW, APIA Leichhardt Tigers have speared through the competition, now sit atop the competition ladder. Between Georgia Bridges and Ash Palombi, they have fired home 30 goals, add in the Amy Dahdah and the side is primed to keep rolling.
In Samantha Muscat, SD Raiders FC have a fantastic striker to lead their attack. Her goals in back-to-back games has helped the Raiders to remain in the hunt for finals football. They will need another all-round performance with some vital saves from custodian Natasha Pentecost to blunt the terrific Tigers.
By Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)