Another weekend in the books for National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Womens and we said bye, bye, bye to another team as the competition was narrowed down to three. Both contests were gripping and featured some superb action. Let’s get onto the review.
Gladesville Ravens 2 defeated Central Coast Mariners 0
The Gladesville Ravens are moving on after a 2-nil success against Central Coast Mariners in a semi-final at Valentine Sports Park.
Goals in either half were enough to secure Gladesville Ravens passage into next weekend. Carlie Ikonomou rolled one home from the spot in the first half then Annalise Schiraldi’s arrowed strike in the 67th minute saw off a gallant Central Coast Mariners side.
Whilst that result saw Central Coast Mariners season end, 2019 has been tough for the young side but they did well to make it into the top five and the finals. They go into the off season with the head held high as they had their chances in the first half to put some fright into the Ravens.
On a bright afternoon, both teams came out with an edge to their play. The midfields worked hard to find openings which gave Mariners winger Mikala Tucker chances to get behind the defense but she lost her footing.
The first big chance in the contest came from the set piece. Fresh from rocket strike last weekend, Leisel Collins took aim on the right side with a free-kick. The youngster was denied only by a sprawling save from Ravens shotstopper Eri Arikawa.
Ravens midfielder Yume Kashima was bright in her work today, she created the first chance for Gladesville Ravens with a smooth spin that opened up the space for Emily Diaz to warm the palms of Mariners keeper Rhiannon Hines.
In a tight contest, the first goal came from the spot. Ravens striker Kasia Wojtowicz was tripped in the box and referee Jones pointed to the spot. Carlie Ikonomou stepped up and rolled it into the left corner for 1-nil.
That goal just ramped up the Ravens attack with Diaz whistling an effort wide then another sublime touch from Kashima gave Wojtowicz the room to rasp another wide this time of the right-hand post to press their advantage.
Central Coast Mariners were gifted an opportunity to level the score when Danielle Wise pounced on an errant pass but the sharpshooter who has 29 goals this season, blazed her shot high and wide.
Kashima looked to put some icing on her superb first half performance, weaved through the Mariners midfield then closing in on the box, placed a shot straight into the hands of Hines. Ravens kept their slender 1-nil advantage into the break.
Ready to get themselves back in the contest, Mariners were first to strike – Jade Mcatemney released Wise who shot early then in thr 54th, Mcatemney dug out a shot herself which was gobbled up by Arikawa.
Just as the Mariners warmed to their task, the Ravens doubled their advantage. Annalise Schiraldi stole the ball smartly and arrowed the ball into the bottom corner, 2-nil Ravens and one foot into the Preliminary Final.
The contest was slipping away from Central Coast but they kept pressing forward. Nina Collins flashed one wide then late in the contest, Gabrielle Blanch was the recipient of a wonderful pass from Mcatemney but sent it wide of the post.
For Gladesville, Ikonomou tried to place an effort which was touched over by Hines then Wojtowicz sprung free from a smart throw in and whistled it over the bar. The two goals earlier were enough to secure their passage to next weekend.
Speaking after the contest, Ravens coach Albert Disciascio was proud of the effort from his side as they look for revenge next weekend against Sutherland Shire FA:
“I think it was a wake-up call in previous weeks. We didn’t finish the job and the girls showed that today. The priority was to win the game and move onto the next challenge which we showed in the second half. Now, we move onto a game and hopefully might find some revenge against Sutherland Shire FA.” said the Ravens boss.
Central Coast Mariners coach Greg Hartge he lamented the ending of their season but remained proud of the team to get to this stage with their injuries and key personnel missing across the season:
“We got cautious in the first half then the penalty put us on the back foot. Their keeper pulled off a wonderful save at nil-all which could’ve changed the game.” he said.
“It was a fantastic season given how we started. We had four big names missing then having to use some of the talent we brought into reserve grade into firsts was tough. Having both firsts and reserves make the finals is a huge achievement for us.” finished Hartge.
Sunday 18 August 2019 – Valentine Sports Park #2
Referee: K. Jones
Assistant Referees: C. Gray & S. Wang
Gladesville Ravens 2 (Ikonomou ‘19, Schiraldi ‘67)
Central Coast Mariners 0
Gladesville Ravens: 1. ARIKAWA Eri, 2. TAYLOR Eloise, 3. SMITH Ashleigh, 5. FISHER Alanna (26. POND ‘59), 6. IKONOMOU Carlie, 7. DIAZ Emily, 8. ZACZEK Zoe, 9. SCHIRALDI Annalise, 10. KASHIMA Yume, 11. WOJTOWICZ Kasia, 23. GESTIER Hannah (4. LIDBETTER ‘45)
Unused subs: 14. KINCHINGTON Annabelle, 28. MOORE Kirrily, 51. GOLDSMITH Chloe
Yellow cards: Diaz ‘5, Taylor ‘56
Red cards: nil
Central Coast Mariners: 1. HINES Rhiannon, 2. BLANCH Gabrielle, 3. TUCKER Mikala (4. SNAPE ‘61), 8. WISE Danielle, 10. MCATEMNEY Jade, 11. SHORTER Elizabeth, 12. MURPHY Kaitlin, 15. COLLINS Leisel, 16. SQUIRES Kirby (29. BREWSTER ‘78), 22. COLLINS Nina, 23. DRYSDALE Jordyn
Unused subs: 9. EYERS Haylie, 21. MCFARLANE Mia, 40. COYTE Sophie
Yellow cards: nil
Red cards: nil
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 4 defeated Sutherland Shire FA 1
APIA Leichhardt Tigers were the first side through to this year’s National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Womens Grand Final after they strolled to a 4-1 result against Sutherland Shire FA tonight at Lambert Park.
All the heavy hitters for APIA were on the scoresheet. Kerrie Ryan got them off to a fast start with a spot kick within the first 60 seconds then Ashleigh Palombi and a stylish brace from Amy Dahdah got them closer to the final jewel in their crown – the Championship.
For Sutherland Shire FA, this was only a flesh wound, the side have a chance to face familiar foe Gladesville Ravens for the second spot in the Grand Final. Morgan Maxwell scored their only goal on an evening where they were punished for mistakes.
Coming off the week off, APIA wanted to get themselves motoring quickly. They were offered the perfect chance from the spot. Kerrie Ryan has been clinical from the spot this season and dispatched the penalty to make it 1-nil.
Sutherland Shire FA responded quicker than a telephone call centre worker with the equaliser. It fell to Morgan Maxwell, the attacker thrashed it with her left foot into the right corner, to make it 1-1 after a lightning start from both sides.
Both sides needed a breather after such a rapid start with both midfields taking control and blunting the chances created. Sutherland Shire FA created the best chance in this period off the counter when Jordan Baker fizzed one wide of the post.
When chances are at a premium, APIA were clinical in front. A cushioned through ball sent Golden Boot Ashleigh Palombi through on goal. She strode into the box confidently and slammed home her 33rd of the season, made it 2-1.
Waking from their slumber with that second goal, APIA wasted no time to add a third before the break. Amy Dahdah waltzed through the Sutherland Shire FA midfield then fired home to make it 3-1 as APIA bounced into the half-time break.
Dahdah continued to weave her magic in the second half. The striker cut inside well on the hour mark then rattled the crossbar as APIA searched for their fourth. It did come a minute later from who else? Amy Dahdah.
Buoyed by her first half goal and damaging the crossbar, Dahdah set off on a run down the left, bustled past several Sutherland Shire FA defenders before she ripped one into the back of the net which made it 4-1 and sealed APIA’s passage into the Grand Final.
Despite the contest having drifted away from them, Sutherland Shire FA had a pair of late opportunities to reduce the score line. Baker was played in well from a one-two then angled wide of the post in the 72nd minute.
Next it was the substitute Janan Codmani that almost brought the Sutherland Shire FA bench to their feet. A quick release pass from Baker sent the ball down the left before it was crossed into the path of Codmani, whose point-blank effort was blocked in a rare fit of work for APIA keeper Courtney Halpin.
Both sides started to empty their benches to see out the contest as the game started to stretch. Neither side were able to trouble the scorers further and APIA coasted to victory and a Grand Final appearance while Sutherland Shire FA go again.
Speaking after the victory APIA Leichhardt Tigers coach Matt Constantini remained measured in his appraisal of his side tonight as there is still work to be done to finish this season:
“It’s a good feeling to make the Grand Final. We have called this game Round 23 and the next one Round 24 to treat it like another game. The week off didn’t help as we needed to get the cobwebs out but once we did so I thought we dominated the contest.” said Constantini.
Speaking on Amy Dahdah: “She looked like Messi for a while there, beating six or seven players. That was the reason we brought her into the club and she has delivered.” Lastly on the challenge ahead: “I think we’re going to train this weekend to avoid another slow start and get ready for either of the opponents who we are quite familiar with.” finished Constantini.
It was a frank assessment from Sutherland Shire FA technical director Jon Long about his side as they battled hard against APIA but were undone by mistakes:
“You can see the difference in the squads with this result. APIA have 2-3 girls that know how to finish their chances and we didn’t help that in gifting those to them in the first half. Now we look to regroup with the game against Gladesville.” said Long.
Looking forward to next week Long added that “Gladesville will think they are due some a change of fortune against us in our fourth meeting this season. We are confident side though and will remain so going into that contest.” he finished.
Sunday 18 August 2018 – Lambert Park, Marion
Referee: M. Allum
Assistant Referees: E. De Mestre & E. Perry
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 4 (Ryan ‘1, Palombi ‘25, Dahdah ‘43, ‘61
Sutherland Shire FA 1 (Maxwell ‘5)
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 1. HALPIN Courtney, 2. BENNETT Jennifer, 3. BISSET Jennifer, 7. CANINI Carla, 11. PALOMBI Ashleigh (32. PAPOULIDIS ‘77), 13. URQUHART Sarah (13. MACRI ‘83), 14. WATTS Rebecca, 17. RYAN Kerrie, 19. MERKOUREAS Sofia (18. FALLAH ‘70), 20. DAHDAH Amy, 24. BRIDGES Georgia (10. URKANCI ‘87)
Unused subs: 40. GRIMBILOS Stephanie
Yellow cards: Palombi ‘55
Red cards: nil
Sutherland Shire FA: 1. RYAN Hannah, 2. NISBET Genevieve, 3. MANOS Georgia, 4. HUTTON Rebekah (29. HART ‘81), 5. MAXWELL Morgan (5. I. CODMANI ‘81), 6. CHRISTIE Brittany (13. MEADS ‘63), 8. BESZ Nicole, 9. BAKER Jordan, 11. FARMER Maddison (27. GEORGIEVSKI ‘63), 12. KENDALL Lauren, 19. YEATS Zoe (38. J. CODMANI ‘81)
Yellow cards: Baker ‘30
Red cards: nil
Thanks to Justin Smith for his help with this report
By Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)