Round 19 continues to hopefully solve the rubiks cube that is the finals race in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Womens competition. There is six exciting match-ups to whet the appetite as the season starts to draw to a conclusion with the finals in view. Let’s get onto the preview.
Match of the Round: SD Raiders FC vs Gladesville Ravens, Sunday 14 July, 5pm, Ernie Smith Reserve
Their finals hopes are hanging by a thread, SD Raiders FC have a third home game at Ernie Smith Reserve in a week where they welcome Gladesville Ravens to the venue Sunday twilight.
SD Raiders FC suffered a pair of defeats in the last seven days – 2-1 to Marconi then a wild seven-goal encounter with APIA Leichhardt Tigers on Tuesday night. Gladesville Ravens continue to rack up victories after their 5-nil success against St George FC.
The Ravens have quietly gone under the radar since they topped the ladder for much of the first half of the season. They have welcomed back Emily Diaz, who has scored 15 goals in her 14 appearances to partner Annalise Schiraldi up front, with Yume Kashima and Carlie Ikonomou in midfield as they look to keep their wings from being clipped against a stubborn SD Raiders side.
It might not be at the mathematical possibility yet but SD Raiders FC know that in the final month of the season, they may need to win all their games to slip there. Coach Terry Gray promised his side “will fight to the final game” and they will need to put their mid-week disappointment aside to throw a spanner into finals plans.
Nepean FC vs Inter Lions, Sunday 14 July, 3pm, Cook Park
Riding high on their recent success, Nepean FC head back to Cook Park where they host Inter Lions on Sunday afternoon to begin Round 19.
Nepean FC took the tough trip to Mudgee and returned with a comfortable 2-nil result despite having to dig deep in the second half while Inter Lions were unable to find their second win of the season as they fell to fellow strugglers Southern Branch FC, 4-nil.
Comfortable in fourth, Nepean FC look to finish their home campaign with a bang. Nepean FC has been the surprise packet, taking some big scalps against their top five rivals and now, finishing the season with three road games, Alan Tasses hopes his side can take a mountain of momentum into the post-season.
Sutherland Shire FA vs UNSW FC, Sunday 14 July, 3pm, Harrie Denning Centre
Sat in second, Sutherland Shire FA welcome UNSW FC to Harrie Denning Centre on Sunday afternoon as they try to reclaim their spot at the top of the mountain.
Sutherland Shire FA showed heart after seeing their three-goal lead collapse in injury time found a late winner to take the spoils 5-4. UNSW FC battled hard but were swept asides by APIA Leichhardt Tigers 3-nil in the night-cap fixture.
Morgan Maxwell has become the woman for important goals for Sutherland Shire FA. Her 97th minute goal was her fourth of the season, and alongside Maddison Farmer has rounded off one of the formative attacks with Jordan Baker as they try to wrestle control back from APIA.
UNSW FC has turned a corner in the second half of the season, Whilst the results haven’t flowed, Alex Nolan has his side marching to a new beat. The students led by custodian Nadine Knight kept Marconi scoreless a fortnight ago, can they do similar to Sutherland Shire FA this weekend.
Marconi Stallions vs Western NSW Mariners, Sunday 14 July, 3pm, Marconi Stadium
Marconi Stallions welcome home, sweet home after a tough weekend where they host Western NSW Mariners at historic Marconi Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Stallions put a dent in their SD Raiders FC top five hopes after a tense 2-1 success on Sunday night before they were pegged back 4-3 by Central Coast in their re-arranged game last night. For Western NSW Mariners, they were defeated 2-nil by Nepean FC.
Things are still salvageable for Marconi, despite losing on Tuesday night. Marconi has a smooth run home to overhaul the four points Central Coast are ahead. Ceyda Cambaz and Jasmin Courtenay are a deadly duo in front of goal, the pair have combined for 33 goals this season, ready to fire against the Mariners.
After their promising start to the season, Western NSW Mariners fell off a cliff to sit in eighth position and out of finals contention. Added to the headaches for coach Josh Ward is injuries decimating his squad so they will rely further on Teegan Courtney and Anna Hunt to cause a surprise this weekend.
Southern Branch FC vs Central Coast Mariners, Sunday 14 July, 3pm, South Nowra Football Complex
Fresh from their mid-week victory, Central Coast Mariners take the long trip to the south coast to take on Southern Branch FC at South Nowra Football Complex.
It has been an emotional week for Central Coast – they fell to an injury time stunner against Sutherland Shire FA on Sunday then completed a comeback against Marconi, 4-3, to complete their abandoned game. Dan Barrett’s side now have a healthy buffer in 5th as they chase back-to-back Grand Finals.
For Southern Branch, victories are always sweet. Shaylee Meehan has led the way for the Nowra side this year, with eight goals, a pair of those in their 4-nil result last weekend. Can they repeat the dose this weekend against a much more fancied Mariners side.
The Mariners have shown across the season, despite their youthful appearance the yellow-and-navy have matched it with most teams in NPL2 Womens. Barrett’s side has started to find goals throughout the side, Danielle Wise is still the spearhead with 19 goals this season, as they improve their goal difference.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers vs St George FC, Sunday 14 July, 6:30pm
Leaders of the pack APIA Leichhardt Tigers aim to stretch their advantage at the top when they take on St George FC to round off Round 19 at Lambert Park Sunday night.
The Tigers pounced with a packed schedule of games. APIA defeated UNSW FC 3-nil then followed it up with a breathless 4-3 comeback victory against SD Raiders FC last night. St George FC were on the end of a 5-nil result against Gladesville Ravens.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers are in reach of their goals that were lined up in pre-season. The Tigers are top of the table, lead the Club Championship and have the Golden Boot in Ash Palombi. Palombi is the heartbeat of the Tigers side, and her partnership with Logan Garard and Amy Dahdah is central to moving a step closer to those goals this weekend.
St George FC have shown glimpses of promise this season, sat in tenth, the Saints have found some talents in Ana Araujo and custodian Lani Dodd alongside two talented strikers in Amy Bennett and Yadira Renfigo. The Saints could cause the shock of the season if they can be the second side to win at Lambert Park.
By Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)