The finals places are sealed in the NPL NSW Women’s competition after round 20.
Blacktown Spartans 6-1 Bankstown City
The Blacktown Spartans confirmed their finals appearance with a comprehensive 6-1 victory over Bankstown City.
David Saliba’s girls were on from kick off as Linda Dudek, Olivia Price, Tony Borazio and Alix Roberts all getting themselves on the score sheet along with a late brace from Ash Crofts.
Roberts with an absolute stunner minutes from half time.
Blacktoen took the lead early as Dudek finished off an excellent team move with a well driven effort.
Not long after taking the lead, the home team doubled their advantage as Price found the back of the net with a fine shot coming off the upright.
Vesna Milivojevic forced Casey Dumont into an excellent low save shottly after as Bankstown began to believe.
And soon, Milivojevic halved the deficit, latching onto a Steph Ambrose pass to place the ball beyond Dumont.
That was short lived though as Borazio bulldozed her way through the Lions defence before placing the ball into the back of the net, restoring the home team’s two-goal advantage.
As half time approached we were treated to something special.
As she has done on many occasions this season, Alix Roberts unleashed a thunderous free kick giving Renee Krstanovska no chance and finding the top corner.
It was another special goal the right back can add to her highlight reel.
Both teams had chances in the dying stages, first Price hit the bar and then Milivojevic really should’ve scored on the counter at the other end.
Krstanovska was forced into two saves after the break, first from Dudek and shortly after from Crofts.
Bankstown had the perfect chance to get back into the game with 30 minutes to go as Milivojevic was bundled over in the box.
Lions’ star played stepped up to take the kick but was well read by Dumont who made a great save.
Things then got a little out of hand from there as first Maryam Mostaghimi was shown her marching orders for a second bookable offence before Blacktown’s Beth Gordon suffered the same fate.
Ash Crofts was finally rewarded for her persistence, first beating Bankstown’s reserve keeper at the second attempt after a great initial save.
Crofts had her second late on, showing incredible speed to round up the 6-1 victory.
Manly United 0-4 Sydney University
Sydney University are one step away from claiming the premiership after another convincing win.
They hit the front in the first half through Teigen Collister and went into the break leading by the odd-goal.
Three more goals in the second half, one each to Holly Caspers. Julie-Ann Russell and Cortnee Vine.
It’s now 16 games without defeat for Alex Epakis’ side as finals become and the possibility of doing the double a real chance.
Illawarra Stingrays 1-1 Northern Tigers
The Northern Tigers are out of the hunt for the premiership after splitting the points with the Illawarra Stingrays.
The travelling team got off to a better start and took the lead in the first half through Maddie Bart.
But the Stingrays found an equaliser in the second period to secure a draw.
The point means the Stingrays can still finish above the Tigers with two games to go and score a top three position.
Sydney Olympic 5-0 Emerging Jets
It was a formality at Peter Moore Field as Sydney Olympic kept the premiership hopes alive.
They easely disposed of the Emerging Jets, running away with a five star performance, winning 5-0.
Panny Petratos scored two while the unstoppable Susan Phonsongkham scored a hat-trick to take her season tally to 19 goals.
North Shore Mariners 4-1 Macarthur Rams
Where were these performances from the North Shore Mariners all season!?
The comprehensive win meant that we’d be watching a finals series without the Macarthur Rams for the first time, in a long time.
It was already 4-1 at the break and that’s the way the game would finish.
Gab Marzano has been performing at a high level all season and she scored two for the home side along with Camilla Arentoft and Gemma Gray who each scored one.
Nikola Orgill picked up her ninth of the season for the Rams as Caitlin Campbell received her marching orders.
By – Nikola Pozder, NPL NSW Women’s Writer