The Premiership race will go to the wire after a pulsating Round 21 that saw the top three contenders continue to rampage through the competition. The six contests brought out the best in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Womens competition as we move into the final act of the season. Let’s get onto the review.
Match of the Round: APIA Leichhardt Tigers vs Marconi Stallions
The Tigers continue to inch closer to the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Womens Premiership following their 4-nil triumph tonight against Marconi Stallions at Lambert Park.
An early header from Ash Palombi set APIA on their way with strike partner Georgia Bridges bookending their effort with a first half injury time strike. Fullback Jennifer Bisset nailed the third then youngster Lillian Dummett sent the bumper crowd home delighted with her first senior goal as APIA are a win away from the Premiership.
The loss ends Marconi Stallions finals hopes. It was a familiar tale from the visitors as they were unable to capitalize on their chances which has cruelled their campaign. Back-to-back seasons without finals football will sting the proud club but they are driven to get themselves there in 2020.
On a brisk night at Lambert Park, APIA delivered an early dose of warmth with Ash Palombi’s header. The striker pounced quickly after Jennifer Bisset’s effort was pushed away by Stallions keeper Chloe Carmichael to make it 1-nil.
Despite their lead, APIA weren’t at their fluid best in defense which allowed Marconi to have some tame efforts highlighted by Ceyda Cambaz’s roller in the 7th minute. The Stallions needed to find a clinical edge to keep themselves in the hunt.
APIA showed flashes of style in the first half. Georgia Bridges rolled down the left, before she angled a ball into the path of Palombi. While Palombi couldn’t fashion a shot, it fell to Amy Dahdah to shoot over the bar.
The Tigers doubled their advantaged headed into the break. A cushioned ball to Dahdah opened up the space but she couldn’t create the angle, offloaded to Palombi, before she spied Georgia Bridges open. Bridges thumped home to make it 2-nil at half-time.
Coming out from the break, APIA picked up where they left off. Bisset slalomed through the Stallions defense before angling wide then Bridges broke the offside trap and thrashed one wide of the post as well.
APIA weren’t to be denied though, after her sparkling role in the first half Bisset joined both her strikers on the scoresheet. Bridges started the move before the defender popped up to arrow home for a 3-nil APIA advantage.
Marconi’s best chances came from the set piece in the second half. Both Alyssa Rose and Lauren Featherstone had free-kicks that sailed wide of the mark, as frustration continued to build and the finals slipped away.
The home side kept their foot on the throttle as Bridges continued to take advantage of the Stallions high line but she will be disappointed not to be able to finish her 77th minute chance.
There was one final moment of magic for APIA to come deep into injury time. Youngster Lillian Dummett gave the faithful a glimpse into the future with her goal to make it 4-nil. The celebrations that followed showed the tight-knit nature of this APIA squad as they romped home and get ready for bigger challenges.
Speaking afterwards APIA coach Matthew Constantini was delighted with the
“Four-nil probably flattered us tonight. We defended well tonight despite turning the ball over and adjusted things and got three goals in the second half. We head to Orange to hopefully get the point needed for the Premiership. We have a depleted squad but the girls have stepped up all season and can do so again.” said Constantini.
On young goalscorer Lillian Dummett: “She has been fantastic. We’ve had some of the 17s fill in and that is her first senior goal in three appearances. It is a credit to Robbie Maiorana who has got them ready for this opportunity.” finished Constantini.
Marconi Stallions striker Ceyda Cambaz bemoaned the side’s lack of finishing product that has dogged their season and combined for them to miss finals football for a second straight season:
“It is a shame for us. We create these chances in games but missing them has become the story of our season. I thought we still had a good season in the scheme of things but credit to APIA, they are a quality side and punished us tonight.” said Cambaz.
Sunday 28 July 2019 Lambert Park, Marion
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 4 (Palombi ‘2, Bridges ‘45+1, Bissett ‘55, Dummett ‘90+2)
Marconi Stallions 0
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 1. HALPIN Courtney, 2. BENNETT Jennifer, 3. BISSETT Jennifer, 11. PALOMBI Ashleigh (49. DUMMETT ‘83), 13. URQUHART Sarah (35. MACRI ‘,74) 14. WATTS Rebecca, 17. RYAN Kerrie, 18. FALLAH Jessica, 19. MERKOUREAS Sofia, 20. DAHDAH Amy, 24. BRIDGES Georgia (48. WEBSTER ‘87)
Unused subs: 7. CANINI Carla, 10. URKANCI Filiz
Yellow cards: Bridges Ryan Watt
Red cards: Ryan
Marconi Stallions: 1. CARMICHAEL Chloe, 3. FEATHERSTONE Lauren, 4. CONNERS Mia, 6. ROSE Alyssa, 7. COURTENAY Jasmin, 8. CAMBAZ Ceyda (5. USHERWOOD ‘30(33. KUMPULAINEN ‘68)), 9. HOWARD Demelza (23. TAVARES ‘60), 10. VOLODER Emma, 11. DALBON Michelle, 24. BOLAN Montana (19. CIABATTI ‘78), 31. BUCHANAN Tamsin
Unused subs: 32. CURREY Tamara 35. LEWIS-ZRAIKA Jazlyn
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil
Western NSW Mariners 0 defeated by Gladesville Ravens 4
Gladesville Ravens remain an outside chance to snatch the Premiership after they strolled to a 4-nil success against Western NSW Mariners today Sir Jack Brabham Park.
The Ravens rounded off their away schedule with a comfortable victory that notched up their fifth straight result that has them flying into the post season. The form of their key weapons in Emily Diaz and Annalise Schiraldi will delight the coaches.
Both of their main attacking options nailed home braces today. Diaz’s double takes her to 22 goals for the season while Schiraldi has notched 12 to her name. After their disappointment last season, the Ravens are primed to make their mark in the finals in a fortnight.
Western NSW Mariners battled hard missing players but were undone by some errors against a clinical Ravens attack. They have a final chance next weekend against competition leaders APIA Leichhardt Tigers to end their home fixtures on a high.
Inter Lions 0 defeated by Central Coast Mariners 9
Central Coast Mariners strolled to a 9-nil success against Inter Lions at Concord Oval this afternoon which strengthened their grip on fifth place.
The Mariners made light work of Inter Lions on a warm afternoon in Sydney’s inner west. Goal machine Danielle Wise continued her red-hot form with the opener then midfielder Jade Mcatemney helped the yellow-and-navy to a 2-nil lead at the break.
Getting themselves ready for finals football, Central Coast Mariners piled on the goals in the second half to help their goal difference. Wise took her season tally to 28 with three more goals with Gabrielle Blanch, Kaitlin Murphy, Mikala Tucker and Liesel Collins rounded off the result.
Their victory combined with the Marconi Stallions loss confirmed that Central Coast will play semi-final football for a second straight season, as they aim to go one better than their runner up effort last season against Sydney Olympic FC.
Southern Branch FC 2 drew with St George FC 2
Down where the city meets the sea, the spoils were shared in a 2-2 draw between Southern Branch FC and St George FC this afternoon at South Nowra Football Complex.
All four goals were scored in a manic first half between two sides aiming to finish the season on a high. Southern Branch FC found the back of the net through Shaylee Meehan and Jessica Muir. Meehan’s goal was her ninth of the season and a solid return for the Southern Branch FC striker.
For St George FC, Marissa Nicopoulous and Yadira Renfigo were the goal scorers. The point tonight was the first the Saints had picked up in over a month since their away victory against Western NSW Mariners.
UNSW FC 1 defeated by Nepean FC 4
They were made to work for it but Nepean FC’s second half blitz saw them run out 3-1 victors this afternoon against a tough UNSW FC side at Wentworth Park.
The finals bound side didn’t have it all their own way with UNSW FC taking a single goal lead into the break thanks to centre back Tahlia Hanslow. The students took it to Nepean FC and afterwards the visiting coach admitted it was a good tune-up for the finals.
Nepean FC found their rhythm in the second half and promptly put the students to the test. A brace from youngster Imogen Lane and one from Aisling Davidson – who has scored in her last three games – handed Nepean FC the three points.
That result confirms Nepean FC will finish in fourth position and play an elimination final in the first week of the finals. For UNSW FC, coach Alex Nolan was delighted with the effort from a depleted students side and these second half of the season performances will fuel them to finish higher and possibly challenge for finals next season.
SD Raiders FC 1 defeated by Sutherland Shire FA 3
Sutherland Shire FA continue to nip at the heels of the competition leaders APIA after a 3-1 success against SD Raiders FC tonight at Ernie Smith Reserve.
The chase for the Premiership will go into the final weekend after Sutherland Shire FA picked up their sixteenth victory of the season. It will be a game remembered for another hat-trick for Jordan Baker to continue her goal glut.
Baker gave Sutherland Shire FA the perfect start with her fifth minute goal to give them a slender 1-nil lead at the break. SD Raiders FC hit back through the industrious work from Sarah Mandile early in the second half as Terry Gray’s side continue to stick to their guns and match it with the bigger sides.
From there though, Baker completed her hat-trick with a pair of quality strikes to ensure Sutherland Shire FA remain a chance at the Premiership. Despite the loss, Gray beamed with pride due to the effort from side in what has been a tough season.
By Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)