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ROUND 2 REVIEW – NPL NSW WOMEN’S

A full quota of games in the NPL NSW Women’s competition this week with many thrills and spills in round two action. 

Some shock results headline this round of action with both competition favourites going down, while it would seem there is another genuine contender or two.

Macarthur Rams 6-1 NWS Spirit 

It was a dominant display at Lynwood Park on Sunday evening as the Macarthur Rams recorded a resounding 6-1 victory over NWS Spirit.

In a strange match, it was the away side that started incredibly well, not allowing the Rams time nor space.

The home team could not get out of their half for the opening 10 minutes as both Sasha Grove and Rachael Patterson went close without testing Chloe Carmichael in the Rams goal.

Against the run of play, the Rams should’ve been in front. Japanese import Miku Sunaga fed through Laura Murtagh whose effort was well saved by Katie Offer.

This seemed to give the home team confidence and in the 18th minute they had the lead. Patty Charalambous’ driven corner found the head of Sunaga who headed into an empty net.

Less than 10 minutes later, it was two. A fantastic run down the left flank saw Beth Gordon clip a ball over to the far post for Murtagh who squared up Sunaga who was left with the easiest of tap ins for her second of the evening.

The goals continued and it was soon 3-0. Holly Williams played through a fine ball for Murtagh who beat the offside trap and placed the ball into the bottom corner of Offer’s goal.

Spirit gave themselves a lifeline five minutes from half time when Sasha Grove bundled the ball home after Carmichael spilled a Tahlia Macri effort.

But it took only 33 seconds in the second half for the Rams to restore their three-goal advantage. Murtagh taking advantage of a Spirit defensive lapse before squeezing the ball under Offer and into the goal.

It was a dream debut for coach Stephen Peters’ Japanese star, as Sunaga sealed her hat trick and the match ball with a curling effort in the 56th minute to make it 5-1.

The Rams would be short a couple match balls not long after as Murtagh scored her third goal of the evening. Another wonderful ball by Charalambous saw substitute Leena Khamis flick the ball beyond the keeper into the path of Murtagh who tapped the ball home.

The entry of Khamis and Kylie Ledbrook almost compounded the away side to an even heavier defeat but substitute keeper Isabella Whitton in the Spirit goal made some crucial saves.

Stephen Peters was pleased with his Rams team display and expects them to carry this result into the next fixture.

 

Sydney University 2-0 Emerging Jets  

Sydney University opened their 2022 campaign in the best possible fashion with a hard fought two-goal victory over the Emerging Jets.

The home team could not open the scoring in the first period as the Jets held firm to go into the sheds locked at 0-0.

It took just over 10 minutes for Uni to hit the front in the second half. Holly Caspers broke through and placed the ball into the back of the net comfortably for the home team to take the lead.

With 15 minutes left on the clock, Uni secured the points. A corner was not dealt with by the Jets defence as Holly Duncan blasted home a loose ball on the six-yard line.

Uni coach Emily Husband would have been pleased to get the season off to a winning start after a difficult pre-season.

 

Bankstown City 2-1 Illawarra Stingrays  

After suffering defeat in round one, Bankstown City turned that around and came away with their first three points of the season against the Illawarra Stingrays.

Bankstown was strong last week but Matthew Costantini’s team got no reward. They started in the same fashion this week and it took only five minutes for them to hit the front.

The home team pressed high and forced the Stingrays into a mistake. Skye Cassachia picked up the ball from some way out before letting fly with a pile driver, finding the back of the net in style.

They piled on the pressure, creating chance after chance but were not able to capitalise on it and went into the break 1-0 up.

The Lions continued their dominance in the second half and were rewarded in the 67th minute. Bankstown’s Georgia Plessas delivered a free kick into the box as Olivia Price volleyed home a loose ball beyond the goalkeeper.

The Stingrays snapped into action after that and started creating chances of their own. Brianna Edwards, the Lions goalkeeper, then gave the Stingrays a glimmer of hope after fumbling Sheridan Gallagher’s shot over the line.

The Lions held firm and closed the game out comfortably for their first win of the season.

 

Blacktown Spartans 1-0 Football NSW Institute 

The Blacktown Spartans left it very late at Blacktown Football Park as they took the spoils against the Football NSW Institute.

Two teams that didn’t play in round one were somewhat rusty to get proceedings going.

Sally James wasn’t really tested in the Blacktown goal until the mid-point of the second half when Sienna Saveska had a shot from distance.

With the first real chance of the match, the home side hit the front with five minutes on the clock.

Persistence from Ash Crofts saw the Spartans striker win the ball before sending a delightful cross-field pass for Rachael Goldstein who sent the ball into the back of the net.

Goldstein’s goal was enough for the winner as Brad Attard’s team celebrated all three points.

 

Northern Tigers 3-2 APIA Leichhardt 

At North Turramurra, the Northern Tigers secured a massive three points over competition favourites APIA Leichhardt.

It took only eight minutes for the Tigers to take the lead and in some style.

The move started from a Tigers goal kick, passing the ball from defence all through midfield and down the left flank before Ashlee Brodigan finished off the fine team move with an excellent left footed finish.

Five minutes from the break, the home team doubled their advantage. A Brodigan free kick was flicked on by Shadeene Evans as Maddie Bart arrived at the far post to tap the ball home.

The second half saw APIA come out on fire but it would be the Tigers who would get the next goal.

Evans again the provider, this time for Brodigan who got her second of the afternoon to extend the lead to 3-0.

The APIA fightback started with 30 minutes to go. Tory Tumeth popped up at the back post following a corner to volley the ball home and give the visitors some hope.

With four minutes to go APIA pulled another goal back. Another fantastic team goal in this match, Rhianna Pollicina rounding off the move with a neat finish.

It was a little too late for Spencer Prior’s APIA team as the Tigers held on for all three points.

 

Manly United 3-0 Sydney Olympic 

In the shock of the round, Manly United hammered Sydney Olympic at Cromer Park with a commanding 3-0 victory.

Sydney Olympic started the better of the two but it was the home team that almost hit the front first, Yuka Honda rising highest in the box and sending her headed effort against the post.

On the half hour mark, they had the lead. Honda connected with Caitlin Jarvie who bore down on Jada Whyman before slotting the ball beyond the on-rushing goalkeeper.

Olympic pushed for an equaliser in the second half but it would be the home team to strike again with two minutes of the 90 remaining.

Arguably, the goal of the weekend in the competition, went the way of Maddie Zahra, letting fly with a ferocious strike from well outside the area and finding the top corner.

The points were sealed in stoppage time when Honda converted from the spot, making it 3-0.

-By NPL NSW Women’s Chief Writer and Commentator Nikola Pozder