What a way for the NPL Women’s NSW competition to kick off! There was plenty to see across the five live streamed games.
Football NSW Institute v Northern Tigers
It was the perfect start to the season for Leah Blayney’s side, coming away with all three points in their clash with the Northern Tigers at Valentine Sports Park.
The first goal of the game came after only eight minutes as Aideen Keane’s high press saw her disposes Servet Uzunlar and bare down on Eliza Campbell.
Her placed shot beat the keeper but rebounded off the post into the path of Bryleeh Henry who placed the ball into the back of the net.
The Tigers held most of the possession and tried to create something through Uzunlar on various occasions but the Young Institute side stood firm in defence.
For the home side, they sat deep and waited for their opportunity on the counter attack and looked to threaten Campbell on the break.
It took the Tigers less than a minute in the second half to find the equaliser as Daisy Arrowsmith crossed for Maddie Bart who headed well into the back of the net.
Gallagher seems to be ‘one to watch’ from the Institute this season and she continued to create issues for the Tigers left side in the second period.
AIdeen Keane should’ve had the Institute back in front in the 67th minute after a fine pass from Gallagher, only to get her bearing all wrong and shoot wide.
But right on 70 minutes it was 2-1 for the home side.
Scarlet Thomas received the ball on the edge of the box and found the top corner, giving an outstretched Campbell no chance.
With 10 minutes to go the Tigers should’ve been level once more.
Aimee Phillips got onto the end of a neat team move, moved in on Olivia Riddel but once again the Institute defence reacted well to avert the danger.
In the 86th minute Campbell kept the Tigers in the game with a fine save.
Some fine combination play from the home side had Keane in on goal but Campbell stuck a leg out to save.
Campbell showed safe hands a minute later, this time saving from Paris Kambouris.
The away side couldn’t create one final chance to find an equaliser as the depleted Institute recorded a excellent opening day win.
FNSW Institute 2 (Henry 7’, Thomas 70’)
Northern Tigers 1 (Bart 46’)
NWS Koalas 5 – 0 Emerging Jets
At Christie Park the North West Sydney Koalas faced off against the Emerging Jets.
Morgan Roberts had the Koalas in front seven minutes before half time, easing Jaime Gomez’s half time team talk.
As the second half wore on, the Jets began to tire as the home side took full advantage.
First Ariella Cabezas doubled the Koalas advantage with a neat finish after a good original save by Susanna Behne-Smith in the 78th minute.
Emma Stanbury made it three in the 83rd minute before another defensive blunder allowed Sophie Harding to make it 4-0 two minutes later.
Stanbury then had her second and the Koalas fifth from the penalty spot in the 90th minute to round off a 5-0 victory.
Sydney Olympic 5-2 Blacktown Spartans
They may be the new girls on the block but they sent warning signs across the competition, showing they won’t be push arounds.
It didn’t take long for Olympic to find their first goal in the top tier, courtesy of Panagiota Petratos.
Susan Phonsongkham soon doubled their advantage after a fine team move.
Sarah Yatim had her first goal in the Olympic blue, extending the lead to 3-0 just before half time.
Petratos then had her second just after the break, making it 4-0 for the home side.
And she completed her hat-trick with a fine shot into the bottom corner to have the home side cruising at 5-0.
Two late goals to the Spartans made the score 5-2.
Manly United 1-2 Macarthur Rams
It was always going to be a big game at Cromer Park as Manly United welcomed the champions Macarthur Rams.
And they kicked off the campaign in stunning style, with Rosie Galea scoring an absolute screamer after only four minutes.
On the half hour mark though, the home side was level after Claudia Cholakian rounded off a fine team move.
Both sides pushed hard for the winner and United thought they had it but the ball crashed off the cross bar.
In typical Rams fashion, they had the winner in the third minute of stoppage time.
And it was another stunning goal, this Time by Elizabeth Ralston as she found the top corner herself, an unlikely goal scorer.
Bankstown City 0-5 Sydney University
Bankstown City hosted Sydney University to Jensen Park on Sunday afternoon.
It took until the half hour mark for the away side to hit the front and it was after some fine skill down the left by Julia Vignes who did it all herself, scoring a fine individual goal.
Cortnee Vine continued where she left off from last season, making it 2-0 from the spot.
Just before half time Julie-Ann Russel added a third for the away side.
Mackenzie Hawkesbury had Uni 4-0 up soon after half time, following up on a rebound.
They made it five mid-way through the second period as Nikki Flannery got herself on the scoresheet.
Illawarra Stingrays v North Shore Mariners – 13/03/19
-By NPL Women’s NSW writer Nikola Pozder