It was a round full of excitement as we’ve grown accustomed to in the National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s competition.
The Macarthur Rams showed their title credentials with a confident victory over the 2020 Champions, while last year’s Premiers scored their first win of the year.
APIA Leichhardt and the Northern Tigers are gearing toward massive campaigns with impressive victories in round six.
While there were draws at Christie Park and Belmore Sports Ground.
Macarthur Rams 2-1 Manly United
Well the Macarthur Rams sent a message to the competition with their win against Manly United on Sunday night.
With many doubting their title credentials, including yours truly, the Rams are really the real deal.
It took them only 60 seconds to hit the front through Rachel Goldstein, before a Sham Khamis error allowed the Champions to go into the break locked at 1-1.
Leena Khamis would be the saviour, popping up to score the winner in the second half.
With the first chance of the game, the home side hit the front. A ball played through had Goldstein stealing in in front of Nicole Simonsen and placing the ball into an empty goal.
Not long after, Manly created their first real chance. Cassidy Davis played a delightful ball over the defence for Libby Copus-Brown who headed across for Tash Prior who wasn’t aware to tap the ball home.
Khamis then delivered a cross with her left for Goldstein but Rams’ first goal scorer couldn’t head home her second.
10 minutes from the break, the Champions thought they had an equaliser.
Remy Siemsen put pressure on Renee Rollason, won the ball and played in Tara Andrews who finished expertly.
Only for the assistant referee to call over the referee and disallow the goal for a foul on Rollason.
United had their equaliser seven minutes later.
Tara Andrews let fly with a powerful shot and what looked a routine save for Khamis turned into a howler as the ball went through her hands and bounced into the goal.
Khamis should’ve had Macarthur back in front seconds before the break but she couldn’t control her volley from just outside the 6-yard box after a Laura Murtagh cross.
Early on in the second period, Khamis again came close. Lauren Keir delivered an excellent ball to the far post for Khamis but again the number nine couldn’t finish.
But you keep giving the veteran chances and she will punish you.
That’s what happened in the 55th minute after Murtagh played in a perfect ball which Khamis received and then placed home.
Macarthur’s substitutions worked a treat and their play lifted, comfortably keeping out United while looking the more likely to score the next goal in the game.
Rollason again was outstanding for the Rams as was Mel Caceres.
A pleased Stephen Peters said that his team will take it a game at a time and he’s glad people underestimated them.
“I think it’s all attitude and the girls are exceptional,” said Peters.
“We don’t talk about who we’re playing, we don’t talk about winning and ladders, we just put the effort in for the shirt and for me as a coach that’s all I can ask for.”
Completely opposite in the other dug out with a disappointed Tom Hopley.
“We’re losing games on our own at the moment, really sloppy on the ball and it’s just frustrating,” Hopley said.
“We aren’t as fluid as we’d like to be and we just need to keep working hard.”
Football NSW Institute 1-2 Sydney University
Sydney University secured their first three points of the campaign as they defeated Football NSW Institute.
Bianca Galic opened the scoring for the away side with a very well taken goal from outside the area.
The job got tougher for Uni though as Danielle Bartels was sent off for a last-player challenge and with no reserve keeper, Ashley Irwin had to step into goals.
With just over 10 minutes played in the second period, the Institute finally made their numerical advantage count as Claudia Valletta blasted home a loose ball following a corner.
Not long after and in almost identical circumstances as the Institute’s equaliser, Galic put Uni back in front with a smashing volley just inside the box.
Uni held on to register their first win of the season.
Northern Tigers 4-1 Emerging Jets
The Northern Tigers continued their fine run with a smashing victory against the Emerging Jets.
It took 24 minutes for the home team to hit the front as Lauren Allan latched on to a through ball to tap the ball into the goal.
Despite the Tigers dominating, it was the away side that equalised and some equaliser it was.
Mona Walker let fly with a slamming effort from some way out, giving the Tigers keeper no chance in goal and putting her name up for goal of the week contender.
The lead didn’t last long though as Shadeene Evans headed home only minutes later connecting off a corner.
Just over five minutes played in the second half and the home side doubled their lead.
Allan had her second after latching on to a fine ball across goal from Daisy Arrowsmith.
The scoring was completed in the 80th minute as Winonah Heatley headed home from a corner to round off the 4-1 score line.
North West Sydney Koalas 2-2 Blacktown Spartans
The North West Sydney Koalas met the Blacktown Spartans at Christie Park on Sunday night with both teams desperate for three points.
It was the away side that was perhaps the better team in the first half and were rewarded for their pressure in the 33rd minute.
In strange fashion, Rosie Galea scored direct from the corner with Katie Offer only helping the ball over the line.
The goal seemed to spark the home team as they picked up their game as the half came to a close.
Seven minutes into the second half and somewhat against the run of play, the home side was level.
Tahlia Macri managed to bring the ball down for Rachel Soutar on the edge of the area who volleyed home a special goal.
But the Spartans were back in front in the 70th minute.
Maja Markovski pounced on a defensive error to and punished the Koalas with a well placed low shot.
Then for the second time in the game the home team equalised.
A great free kick from Nat Tobin found the head of Alisha Bass who headed home what was enough to secure the Koalas a point from the game.
Sydney Olympic 1-1 Illawarra Stingrays
Belmore Sports Ground was the venue for Sunday night’s clash between Sydney Olympic and the Illawarra Stingrays.
The two sides couldn’t be separated after 90 minutes and both had to settle for a share of the spoils.
George Beltsos’ team hit the front minutes before the break in some style.
A free flowing, nine-pass move saw the ball move from inside Olympic’s half, into the attacking third before Kiara De Domizio cut the ball back for Mackenzie Hawksby who finished the move expertly.
That goal sent the home side into the break in front by the odd goal.
The lead would only last 10 minutes of the second half after a deep free kick from Sheridan Gallagher found Erica Halloway in the box who flicked her header into the goal.
Neither side would add to the score line as the clock ticked past the 90 with the away side going home the happier, the point enough to move them into second place on the ladder.
APIA Leichhardt 3-0 Bankstown City
The final match of the round saw APIA Leichhardt host Bankstown City at Lambert Park as Matthew Costantini returned to face his former employers.
It was the away side the battled hard in the first half, moving into the break with both sides locked at 0-0.
It took until the 77th minute for APIA to break the deadlock.
Georgia Yeoman-Dale showed great pace and strength to beat Steph Ambrose before crossing a delightful ball for Sophie Hoban who stumbled with the ball over the line.
Bankstown then slowly capitulated as Rhianna Pollicina made it two with a neat finish using the outside of her foot to place the ball beyond Annie Grove.
APIA rounded off the scoring through Georgia Yeoman-Dale in the 91st minute with an expert finish and a 3-0 victory.
By: NIKOLA POZDER, CHIEF NPL NSW WOMEN’S WRITER