We’ve reached the half-way point of the NPL NSW Women’s competition and it’s never been tighter at the top.
Blacktown Spartans v North Shore Mariners
The bottom placed North Shore Mariners travelled to Blacktown Football Park to take on the Blacktown Spartans.
It was the home side that would make it eight games without defeat, seven of those victories.
The incredible run was continued with three first half goals to Linda Dudek, Hannah Bourke and Olivia Price.
For the away side, throughout the season, the concession of early goals has been a major problem.
They were almost behind once more only minutes in but Alix Roberts couldn’t poke the ball home before Ash Crofts missed an open goal, albeit from a tight angle.
It wouldn’t take the Spartans long to hit the front and soon after, an excellent ball from Casey Dumont found Dudek in midfield.
With acres of space, the striker looked to have played the wrong pass, only for the pace of Roberts down the right saw her get passed her defender before squaring the ball back for Dudek who finished off the move, 1-0.
The Spartans continued to press the Mariners high up field and doubled their advantage mid-way through the first period.
Olivia Price crossed in a perfect in-swinging ball from the left, finding Hannah Bourke at the far post who put the ball away.
When it seemed that would be that for the first half, the unstoppable Price popped up again.
First she beat her defender before calmly placing the ball beyond Ashleigh Hughes to make it 3-0 to the Spartans.
The second saw the Mariners improve and have their first real effort from distance through Gab Marzano but Dumont wasn’t too worried about the shot.
Blacktown created a few more chances as the game wore on but were missing the final touch or shot to add to their three-goal lead.
Sitting just one point now behind first place, the Spartans have made themselves real premiership contenders.
Illawarra Stingrays 0-0 Sydney University
At JJ Kelly Park, first placed Sydney University travelled to take on the Illawarra Stingrays in a massive match for both sides.
It was always going to be a tight game between two competition heavyweights and it’s exactly what we got.
Neither side could break the deadlock in the first 45 minutes with the sides going into the break locked at 0-0.
The stalemate continued in the second period with the Rays and Uni having to settle for a point apiece.
Emerging Jets 0-2 Manly United
Manly United faced off with the Emerging Jets at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility.
It’s been a frustrating season so far for Manly United and Chris Williams as the side looked to turn their fortunes around against the Jets.
Without a win in their last three outings, United picked up a valuable three points with a 2-0 victory.
FNSW Institute 3-2 Macarthur Rams
At VSP, the Football NSW Institute entertained the Macarthur Rams.
There were chances at both ends of the pitch until the Rams hit the front.
The experienced Leena Khamis slipped in behind the Institute defence and calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net.
Early in the second period, Emma Ralston made it two with a fine header and the Rams looked on their way to another victory.
But the young side wouldn’t lie down and Isabel Gomez put them back into the match.
Aideen Keane then brought the home side level after a powerful run, rounding Khamis and placing the ball into the back of the net.
With both sides opening right up and going for the win, it was the Institute that would complete an amazing turnaround.
Keane once more picked up the ball down the left, beat her defender and put the ball beyond Khamis to make it 3-2 in the dying embers of the game.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Institute, reviving their hopes of finals football.
Northern Tigers 1-0 Bankstown City
The Northern Tigers and Bankstown City faced off at NTRA.
It was a tight half with the sides heading into the break locked at 0-0.
But only eight minutes into the second half, the Tigers had the lead.
A corner to the far post was met by Maddie Bart who headed in powerfully beyond Krstanovska.
Neither side could add to the score line with another huge victory for the Tigers moving them to equal first.
NWS Koalas 0-2 Sydney Olympic
At Christie Park in the late kick off on Sunday night, the North West Sydney Koalas hosted Sydney Olympic.
Olympic knew that a win would put them top of the league while a defeat for the home side would put them further away from a finals place.
With neither side able to find the back of the net in the first 45 minutes, both teams moved into half time at 0-0.
In the 54th minute, the away side made it 1-0.
After combining with Susan Phonsongkham, Panagiota Petratos finished well from just outside the box for the first goal of the game.
With 10 minutes to go, Olympic secured the points in spectacular fashion.
Teresa Polias spotted Romina Parraguirre off her line and from almost half way let fly, beating the Koalas keeper from some distance.
By – Nikola Pozder, NPL NSW Women’s