Only two points separate the top five teams in the NPL NSW Women’s competition after five rounds with a new leader taking the crown.
North West Sydney Koalas v Macarthur Rams
The Macarthur Rams got their season back on track with a fine victory in a seven-goal thriller.
An own goal, Leena Khamis, Lara Dipple and Kylie Ledbrook cancelled out Ariella Cabezas hat-trick for the Koalas.
After three straight defeats, all at home, Norm Boardman’s side had to react and they did so inside the first minute.
Albeit, it wasn’t their doing as a pass back by Tiana Jaber wasn’t dealt with by Romina Parraguirrez-Plaza, with the ball rolling into the back of the net.
This seemed to lift the Rams as confidence grew throughout the camp.
Khamis and Ledbrook both had chances to double the lead while Emma Rolston was in the mood.
It was Ledbrook that would find Khamis sneaking into the box with a fine ball as the experienced striker poked the ball beyond Parraguirrez-Plaza to doubtle the away side’s advantage.
Things went from bad to worse for the home side as only minutes later Khamis was the architect.
A neat ball in behind the Koalas defence had Dipple in who lobbed over the keeper to make it 3-0.
The home side had a lifeline soon after as an excellent cross by Emma Stanbury found the head of Canezas who gave Sham Khamis no chance in goal.
Macarthur looked set to go into the break two-goals to the good but Rolston went down after a challenge outside the area on the stroke of half time.
The New Zealand international had to be stretched off and thoughts go with her for a speedy recovery.
Ledbrook stepped up to the set-piece and in style curled the ball into Parraguirrez’s top corner as the half time whistle soon sounded.
Three goals down and the Koalas needed to react fast in the second half.
It took 12 minutes for them to cut the scoreline as Sophie Harding showed great speed and skill to burst down the left flank before squaring the ball for Cabezas who tapped the ball into Khamis’ goal.
Only two minutes later and it was 4-3.
Erin Pridmore returned a ball toward the centre of the box after a corner, allowing Cabezas to blast home a volley.
When it seemed the home side would find an equaliser and potentially a winner, the Rams defence shut the door as Renee Rollason’s replacement Emma Fattore had a fantastic game in the heart of the backline.
It was exactly what the doctor ordered for Boardman’s team, minus the injury to Rolston.
Illawarra Stingrays 1-1 Sydney Olympic
It was a battle between the top two on the south coast as the Illawarra Stingrays hosted Sydney Olympic.
It was a tough battle in the first period and neither side could break the deadlock as the teams went into the break locked at 0-0.
It took 15 minutes of the second half for the Stingrays to hit the front.
Caitlin Cooper rose at the back post to head the ball into the back of the net.
Olympic pushed for an equaliser and they got their reward in the 79th minute, with a set piece leading to their goal also.
Jessica Frampton got onto the end of a Teresa Polias free kick before shaking off a defender and blasting the ball beyond Trudy Bourke.
A share of the spoils meant neither team would sit atop of the league after round five.
Bankstown City 1-3 Football NSW Institute
Bankstown City hosted the Football NSW Institute at Jensen Park.
A goal apiece in the first period meant the teams were locked at 1-1 in the first half.
But the Institute have proved to be a second half team and they did it again this week, scoring two in the last 45 minutes to secure a 3-1 victory.
It meant the Leah Blayney’s team moved to the top of the league.
Emerging Jets 2-4 Blacktown Spartans
The Blacktown Spartans made the trip north to Lake Macquarie Football Facility to take on the Emerging Jets.
It was the travelling side that went in front, scoring two first half goals through Natalie Vukovic and Olivia Price to lead 2-0 at half time.
The Jets put up a battle in the second half but it wasn’t enough as the Spartans ran away with a 4-2 win with Vukovic grabbing her second and Bethany Gordon the other.
Spartans’ second straight win propels them to seventh place on the ladder.
North Shore Mariners 0-7 Sydney University
At Valentine Sports Park, the North Shore Mariners hosted Sydney University.
After two games without a win, Alex Epakis’ team looked to break their poor run of form.
The odd goal before the break had them in front 1-0 at half time.
But it was a whitewash in the second period with the away side scoring another six and running out 7-0 winners.
It meant the Mariners remained bottom of the league with zero points from the first five games of the season.
Northern Tigers 3-0 Manly United
It was derby day at North Turramurra Recreational Area as the Northern Tigers took on Manly United.
The Tigers started the better and with two goals, lead 2-0 at half time.
Without Remy Siemsen, United couldn’t respond as the Tigers added another in the second half to take a fine 3-0 victory.
Ellie Brush, Madeline Bart and Shayna Killey all found themselves on the scoresheet for the home side who are no longer the surprise packets but rather contenders.
-By Nikola Pozder