A round of shocks is the best way to describe round 16 of NPL NSW Women’s competition.
Macarthur Rams 0-1 NWS Koalas
It was a win worthy of keeping alive the North West Sydney Koalas finals hopes as they came away from Lynwood Park with all three points.
A fortuitous first half header from Koalas captain Erin Pridmore gave Jaime Gomez’s team the victory.
It meant that the win puts the Koalas only two points behind the Rams in fifth place and with a real chance of finding themselves playing play-off football.
Macarthur had welcomed back Sham Khamis into the team as well as Renee Rollason who had only arrived at Sydney Airport at 6:04am Sunday morning from France.
For the Koalas, they had their own issues with both Princess Ibini out injured and Nat Tobin unavailable.
It was the away team that started the better, holding the ball and stepping up onto their opponents.
Annika Clayton looked to test Khamis first and had two efforts that were well held by the Rams keeper.
On 22 minutes the Koalas had the lead.
A corner by Deborah-Anne De La Harpe found Pridmore at the far post. Her header hit the upright and bounced across goal, spinning over the line.
Four minutes later and the Koalas should’ve doubled their lead.
A great ball across goal from Sophie Harding found Morgan Roberts at the far post but the wingers effort, despite beating Khamis, lacked power and was cleared off the line by Kirrilee Cameron.
Amy Sayer started pulling the strings in midfield and the Koalas looked even more threatening.
10 minutes from half time Sayer and Emma Stanbury combined, allowing the midfield some space before forcing Khamis into a fingertip save onto the cross bar.
From here it was all Macarthur as the Koalas struggled to cope.
First a Kylie Ledbrook free kick was hardly cleared after Romina Parraguirre saved the initial effort.
In the 39th minute it was the woodwork that came to the away side’s rescue.
A fine ball in from Nikola Orgill from the right found Leena Khamis in the box but the strikers header smashed against the right hand post.
Khamis the turned provider for Rosie Galea but she couldn’t get her effort on target as the Koalas held onto a first half lead.
Only two minutes into the second period Sophie harding showed some magic.
Some fine skill got her beyond Emma Fattore before forcing Sham Khamis into a fantastic save.
The Koalas continued to pepper the Rams but couldn’t find the final pass.
Erin Pridmore than had a golden chance with 30 minutes to go but again Khamis pulled off another fine save.
With just under 20 minutes to go, Emma Rolston slipped in Leena Khamis who was odds on to score.
But out of nowhere, Kim Davey slid in to make one of the tackles of the season and deny the veteran striker.
Only minutes later and after some neat work by Rolston, Orgill played in a delightful ball across goal but no one could get a toe on the inviting cross.
In the 80th minute Rollason had a fine chance from a set piece but her well placed effort was tipped onto the post by Parraguirre.
Khamis had one final chance in the dying stages of the game but she headed wide of the goal.
Blacktown Spartans 0-2 Emerging Jets
There was a shock at Blacktown Football Park on Sunday afternoon.
Two goals for the Emerging Jets were enough to get the passed the sixth placed Blacktown Spartans.
The win confirms the Jets’ fine form in the last few weeks and throws a real spanner into the works for the Spartans who could’ve moved back into the top five with a victory.
Manly United 0-1 Northern Tigers
The Northern Tigers made the short trip to Cromer Park in search of three points against Manly United.
Emma Watkins had her first goal of the season and the Tigers well on their way in the first half.
They held onto their lead to keep the pressure on first placed Sydney Uni to move into outright second place.
Sydney University 4-0 North Shore Mariners
This one was over at half time as Sydney University hosted the North Shore Mariners at Mason Park.
Four first half goals from Teigan Collister, Nikki Flannery, Annabelle Martin and Cortnee Vine had the home team in front 4-0 at the break.
No score was added in the second period as Uni held onto their two-point lead at the top of the table.
Sydney Olympic 0-4 Illawarra Stingrays
Sydney Olympic hosted the Illawarra Stingrays at Valentine Sports Park and it just wasn’t there afternoon as the Stingrays tore through them.
Hannah Beard had the visitors in front after 11 minutes after a swift team move.
Michelle Carney soon doubled the lead from the spot for the Stingrays.
They say two-nil is the worst half time score line but not on this occasion as Beard picked up her second in the 53rd minute.
Kaelah Austin wrapped up the rout in the 83rd minute with a simple finish to make it 4-0.
Football NSW Institute 1-1 Bankstown City
The spoils were shared at Valentine Sports Park as the Football NSW Institute and Bankstown City drew.
Midway through the first half the visitors had the lead as Vesna Milivojevic played in Jess Cirignano who poked the ball home to register her third goal in two games for her new club.
Shortly after the Institute was level in some style with a special strike from Zoe Dribbus who volleyed into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
By – Nikola Pozder, NPL NSW Women’s Writer