The National Premier League NSW Women’s competition entered into their first week of finals over the weekend, with Manly United FC being the first team to exit from the 2018 finals series
Illawarra Stingrays 2-2 (AET 3-3 Pens 1-3) Macarthur Rams
The Macarthur Rams lead twice in normal time but were pegged back both times by the Illawarra Stingrays to send the game to extra time.
Talitha Kramer then had the Rays headed for the major semi final before the experienced Renee Rollason turned on the style and assisted Kate Hensman for the equaliser.
Sham Khamis was the star in the shoot out though, saving two spot kicks to send the Rams to the next stage.
The first big chance of the game fell the way of the Rams as Georgia Yeoman-Dale hit a low shot just wide of the far post.
Blaize Kendis then went close in the 14th minute but Sham Khamis saved well.
Yeoman-Dale was back in again on 17 minutes and really should’ve scored but she could only hit the keeper.
10 minutes from half time the Rams were in front.
A great low ball in from Yeoman-Dale found Leena Khamis in the middle as the striker slid the ball into the back of the net.
12 minutes after the break the Stingrays threatened through Erica Halloway but Khamis came out well to thwart the danger.
Caitlin Cooper should’ve had the Stingrays level on 66 minutes but couldn’t find the target with her sweeping volley.
A minute later Evelyn Chronis went close as the Rams got away with another.
And the pressure finally payed off in the 69th minute.
The Rams defence was all over the place as Chronis ran straight through the defence, shooting first time, with the ball clipping the post on its way in.
Two minutes later and the Rams were back in the lead.
A fine touch and burst of speed from Yeoman-Dale saw her get around her defender before calmly slotting the ball into the back of the net.
Kylie Ledbrook once again reminded everyone of her quality, cracking a free kick against the bar with 10 minutes to go.
But three minutes from full time the Stingrays were back in it.
Talitha Kramer beat her defender, cut in and curled the ball beyond Khamis into the top corner.
Sham Khamis kept the scores level four minutes into extra time with an incredible double save.
First she came out and stopped Cooper in a one on one before pulling off a fine save from Chronis from the rebound.
In the 109th minute the Stingrays hit the front for the first time.
Mackenzie Hawkesby found space outside the box before setting herself and curling the ball into the top corner.
Five minutes from full time it was vintage Renne Rollason as she showed fine skill to beat two defenders before laying the ball up for Kate Hensman who made no mistake with her finish.
The game moved into penalties and the Stingrays sent their first attempt over the bar before Rollason snuck hers into the bottom left corner.
Katelyn Leadbeatter made it 1-1 in the shoot out but Leena Khamis had the Rams back in front, converting her effort.
Sham Khamis then saved Evelyn Chronis’ attempt as Georgia Yeoman-Dale made no mistake, making it 3-1.
Cooper had the chance to keep the Stingrays in the shoot out but Khamis again saved to send Macarthur into the major semi final.
Manly United 1-2 Football NSW Institute
At Valentine Sports Park, it was elimination football time as Manly United took on the Football NSW Institute.
The Institute got off to a better start, and had the lead just after 20 minutes as Courtney Nevin found the back of the net from the penalty spot.
Kyra Cooney-Cross then gave the fans something special in first half stoppage time, hitting a screamer from more than 30 metres out and catching the Manly keeper off her line.
Claudia Cholakian then had Manly back in with a shout mid-way through the second period, pouncing on an Institute error.
Susan Phonsongkham almost settled the result when her shot hit the post.
The Institute continued to press and didn’t hold back but couldn’t find the goal to seal the victory.
It didn’t matter though with Manly unable to find a goal to send them game into extra time.
By Nikola Pozder