The Macarthur Rams booked their place in the 2018 grand final in the NPL NSW Women’s competition.
Illawarra Stingrays 1-6 Football NSW Institute
Football NSW Institute are one step away from a dream grand final after dismantling the Illawarra Stingrays 6-1 at Seymour Shaw.
Three first half goals had the youngsters in control at the break.
When it seemed the Stingrays could make an astonishing comeback with an early second half goal, the Institute scored another three for the emphatic win.
The Institute had the lead just after the quarter hour mark.
Holly Mcnamara received a defence splitting pass from Susan Phonsongkham and easily slid the ball into the back of the net.
Only a minute later the Stingrays went close off a corner but Caitlin Cooper’s volley was cleared away.
Phonsonghkham wanted in on the act and let fly with a pile driver from distance, only for her shot to go inches wide.
But the Institute doubled their advantage in some style.
We spoke about Courtney Nevin’s deadly left foot in the pre-game and she didn’t disappoint in the 28th minute.
A well worked short corner had the ball at Nevin’s feet 30 metres out before she smacked her shot into the top left corner of the goal.
The Institute’s perfect start was tainted by Phonsongkham’s injury as she had to be replaced.
It didn’t matter though as the Institute went a further goal ahead 1o minutes from half time.
Mcnamara got her head onto a deep free kick as the ball came off the post and bounced in.
Michelle Carney could’ve had the Stingrays back in the game seven minute from the break but the missed her volley.
Straight after the break Carney looked to cut the margin but her free kick in the 51st minute cracked against the woodwork.
With 12 minutes being played in the second period, the Stingrays were back in it.
A long throw by Talitha Kramer wasn’t dealt with by the Institute defence as Caitlin Cooper used her strength to make space and shoot at goal.
Her shot bounced back off the post, right in the path of Erica Halloway who made no mistake with her finish.
With 15 minutes to go though, the Institue put a dagger through Stingrays hopes.
Some fine work by Kyra Cooney-Cross saw her slip in Melindaj Barbieri who blasted her finish into the back of the net.
It was almost five in the 78th minute but Kaelah Austin made a fine save from Cooney-Cross.
From the resulting corner though, Aideen Keane made it 5-1, rising at the far post to bundle the ball home.
They soon added a sixth as Mcnamara found her third of the game to complete her hat-trick, easily placing the ball into the back of the net.
Sydney University 1-2 Macarthur Rams
The premiers were looking to book their spot in the final when they faced off against the Macarthur Rams at Arlington Oval.
It wasn’t to be though as the Rams cemented yet another grand final with an impressive 2-1 victory.
They started well and hit the front in the first half courtesy of a Kylie Ledbrook free kick.
Macarthur doubled their advantage in the second period as Caitlin Campbell scored a goal worthy of winning any match.
The premiers wouldn’t go away that easy and halved the Rams’ lead through Rachel Soutar.
That would be all they could conjure though as Macarthur look to finally secure that elusive championship.
Uni will have it all to do in a do or die clash with the Institute next week.
By Nikola Pozder