Round 16 might end up a crucial week for sides in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Womens competition as four of the top six sides clash whilst there are four other exciting games to square off a big weekend of football.
Let’s get onto the preview!
Match of the Round: APIA Leichhardt Tigers vs Nepean FC, Sunday 23 June, 6:30pm, Lambert Park
We finish the round with a blockbuster contest. APIA Leichhardt Tigers welcome Nepean FC to Lambert Park for a crucial contest in the context of the top five.
Both these sides were on massive streaks – unfortunately for Nepean FC theirs came to a halt against Central Coast Mariners in a 2-nil defeat. APIA had to cool their heels due to the pesky weather but are primed for the weekend’s feast.
These two sides played out a dramatic semi-final last season, APIA prevailed in a shootout after a stalemate during regular time. That night Nepean were heroic in defense, led by Desiree Vassallo. Can they reproduce this with their sprinkle of attacking thrust to snap the Tigers streak?
For APIA, despite the weather interruption, everything is sunny in Marion. Coach Matt Constantini has the side roaring with wins stacked up like Tetris blocks. The home side sit second after their wash out, so will want to take their seat again at the top of the table.
Sutherland Shire FA vs Southern Branch FC, Sunday 23 June, 3pm, Harrie Denning Centre
Sutherland Shire FA aim to continue their resurgence with their second home contest in a row when they welcome Southern Branch FC to Harrie Denning Centre Sunday afternoon.
Starting off their home stand, Sutherland Shire FA took bragging rights against local rivals St George FC 4-1 which moved them back to the top of the table. Southern Branch FC fell 5-1 to UNSW FC in another home loss.
Sutherland Shire FA suffered a slight blip through the mid-point of the season which dropped them from the top but they have risen again. Their versatile forward set up headed by sharpshooter Jordan Baker and Brittany Christie has found able deputies in Morgan Maxwell and Nicole Besz in recent weeks, as they try to add to their healthy goal difference.
2019 has been one of modest improvement for Southern Branch FC. They have doubled their victory total and sit in eleventh place on the ladder. There is some talent in their squad with youngsters Luella Boulton and Bronte Wright just two of the rising stars coming through their system.
Central Coast Mariners vs Marconi Stallions, Sunday 23 June, 3pm, Pluim Park
The first part of the finals double feature takes us to Pluim Park. Central Coast Mariners host Marconi Stallions as the two sides duel for the fifth spot on the ladder.
These two sides are squeezed next to each other on the ladder like travellers on a peak hour train. The Mariners edged ahead due to their 2-nil success against Nepean FC. Meanwhile the Stallions sit sixth after the Match of the Round was washed out.
Central Coast are unbeaten in six contests which has surged them up the compacted NPL2NSW Womens ladder. The young side have found their groove and dancing the beat of goals. The twin threat of Gabrielle Blanch and Danielle Wise up front gives them enough edge to allow the talent around them to shine and showcase themselves.
For the visitors, Sunday is a crucial clash as the season starts to wind down to see if they can continue their finals dreams. The Stallions have charged through the pack to sit two points out with a game in hand, so victory this week springs them back into the top five.
UNSW FC vs SD Raiders FC, Sunday 23 June, 3pm, Wentworth Park
It’s home, sweet home for UNSW FC. They’re back at Wentworth Park, taking on a refreshed SD Raiders FC in the cluster of 3pm fixtures on Sunday afternoon.
The students had the longest trip in the NPL2NSW Womens competition to contend with but returned with the spoils of a 5-1 victory against Southern Branch FC. The visitors are fresh after a weekend off due to the rain that drenched the south-west.
A weekend off due to the weather has left SD Raiders FC on the outside of the top five, looking in. SD Raiders showed in their draw against Central Coast the spirit that flows through the side, alongside some quality options in Samantha Muscat and Sarah Mandile to inch closer.
Sunday shapes as a good litmus test for the revived UNSW FC side. Coach Alex Nolan has praised their effort in recent weeks to procure a pair of wins starting their slow climb up the ladder. The students have two superb threats in Darcey Read and brace scorer Amy Ng.
St George FC vs Western NSW Mariners, Sunday 23 June, 4:35pm, St George Stadium
Afternoon delight down by the beachside. St George FC do battle against Western NSW Mariners on a rare trip down to Sydney on Sunday afternoon.
The Mariners will travel on a high after their 2-nil success against Inter Lions in Orange last weekend whilst it was a derby defeat for St George FC, 4-1 against Sutherland Shire FA.
Both sides might be out of the finals reckoning but there is plenty of pride left in both to finish as accumulate as many points as they can. Western NSW Mariners head into this fixture with confidence after taking the first round of this series, 2-1 in Lithgow with an in-form Teegan Courtney after her brace last weekend.
St George FC sit tenth but at home, the Saints are a much tougher opposition to break down. Their last home game saw them topple UNSW FC, so they can square the ledger with Mariners but it will come down to finding goals through Amy Bennett and Marissa Nicopoulos.
Gladesville Ravens vs Inter Lions, Sunday 23 June, 6pm, Christie Park
The third place Gladesville Ravens welcome bottom of the pack Inter Lions for one of the evening fixtures at Christie Park on Sunday night.
It was a downbeat weekend for both sides for varying reasons – Inter Lions were defeated 2-nil by fellow stragglers Western NSW Mariners 2-nil. For Gladesville Ravens, the finals aspirants were kept off the pitch by the sweeping rain that tumbled down Sunday morning.
Injuries has dealt a cruel blow to the Ravens roster but they continue to soar in the highest part of the ladder due to their superb start to the season. More pressure has been put on Kasia Wojtowicz and Amelia Vitek alongside their dynamic midfield to produce which they should duly salute on Sunday.
The visitors occupy an unenviable spot as they sit rock bottom plus can only play spoiler for the rest of the season. Lions have shown in patches that they are building something solid at Concord Oval and clipping the Ravens wings goes a long way to solidifying that foundation.
By Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)