After seven rounds of the NPL NSW Women’s competition, only one undefeated side remains.
The Macarthur Rams continue their flight at the top of the table with another commanding victory, while a double victory for the Football NSW Institute has propelled them into second place on the ladder.
Only three points separate second to fifth and it’s a similar situation from sixth to tenth as the competition continues to heat up.
Blacktown Spartans 2-0 APIA Leichhardt
After five games without a victory, Brad Attard’s team turned around their form in some style on Sunday afternoon.
Two second half goals from Rosie Galea were enough to hand the Spartans their first three points since round two.
The home team let APIA know it was going to be a long day from them from kick off.
APIA couldn’t deal with the high press from the Spartans and went through quite a long spell where they couldn’t get out of their half.
Despite their pressure, the Spartans weren’t really able to create a clear-cut chance and much the same could be said for APIA.
Lisa De Vanna was kept quiet for the most part of the first half by Tanya Borazio who was having some game.
The second half had only just kicked off when Brad Attard’s girls hit the front.
Rosie Galea lined up a free kick from about 25 metres out and pulled out something special.
She curled the ball around the wall and found nothing but top corner, giving Sophie Magus absolutely no chance and scoring potentially one of the goals of the season.
Not long after, it was almost a case of ‘whatever you do I can do better’ as Grace Maher had a free kick of her own.
Similar scenario, ball was heading for the top corner but Sally James pulled off a top drawer save, tipping the ball out for a corner.
Ten minutes later and it was two.
Maja Markovski the architect, using her long legs to win the ball in midfield, she spread the ball wide for Ash Crofts who delivered a perfect cross for the on rushing Galea who tapped the ball home.
Despite pushing hard to get themselves back into the game, it was the Spartans that went close through Kyra Cooney-Cross who stung the palms of Magus.
The away side would get one more chance to get themselves back into the game through Maher.
The midfielder lined up a free kick on the edge of the area but it was James again that came out on top, this time tipping the ball onto the bar to confirm her clean sheet and the 2-0 victory.
Galea should’ve had her hat-trick late on but Sophie Magus pulled off an incredible penalty save in stoppage time.
Brad Attard was elated with his squad and their reaction after a tough few weeks.
“Really proud of the girls and their efforts,” said Attard.
“You can’t turn around football in a couple of weeks but you can turn around effort, team moral and spirit and they showed plenty of it today.”
APIA coach Spencer Prior had one word to describe the performance.
“Rubbish,” Prior said.
“From back to front, that was rubbish but we’ll move on.”
Manly United 0-1 Football NSW Institute
The Champions Manly United were desperate to get back to winning ways on Sunday when they hosted the Football NSW Institute at Cromer Park but it wasn’t to be.
It was the young Institute team that would leave the Northern Beaches with all three points with a 1-0 victory.
The Institute started the match better, held possession and created chances but couldn’t hit the front.
Manly started to create more as the half wore on but also couldn’t break the deadlock as the teams went into half time locked at 0-0.
With 30 minutes to go, the away side’s pressure finally paying off.
A ball into the box evaded all but substitute Isabella Chidiac who couldn’t miss from the edge of the six-yard box.
Despite some late pressure, the visitors didn’t look like conceding and held on to move into second place on the ladder.
Sydney University 0-2 Macarthur Rams
The league leaders Macarthur Rams continued their fantastic start to the season as they defeated the Premiers 2-0 at Valentine Sports Park.
Laura Hughes had the first real chance of the game for Uni, forcing Sham Khamis into a great save.
It was then Macarthur’s turn to threaten though Patty Charalambous, but her header came back off the upright.
Nine minutes into the second half and the visitors were in front.
Kylie Ledbrook let fly from distance but her effort wasn’t dealt with by Georgia Boric who fumbled the ball over the line to give the Rams the lead.
Only a couple minutes later and Macarthur doubled their advantage.
Charalambous spread the ball to the right with a great diagonal, only for Laura Murtagh to blast the ball into the back of the net.
It was a job well done for Macarthur as they retained their top spot.
Emerging Jets 1-3 Sydney Olympic
Sydney Olympic were pushed to extremes by the Emerging Jets but managed to escape with a 3-1 victory at Lake Macquarie.
It took 25 minutes for Olympic to hit the front against the run of play and in fortuitous circumstances.
The Jets didn’t clear the ball well, with Aimee Phillips keen to pick up the loose before, before slotting the ball beyond the Jets keeper.
Neither side could add to the score line as George Beltsos’ team went into half time a goal to the good.
Olympic made it two in the 57th minute as Angelique Hristodoulou slotted a penalty away with class after Teigen Collister was previously fouled in the box.
The Jets made for an interesting finish after Kirtsy Fenton scored late but that was all the home side had energy for.
Phillips then scored her second and settled the match in stoppage time after pouncing on a loose ball in the six-yard box.
Bankstown City 1-5 Northern Tigers
It was one-way traffic at Jensen Park as the Northern Tigers dismantled Bankstown City.
After only 14 minutes the away side were in front in fortunate circumstances.
A cross in from the left struck Steph Ambrose and rolled in for Tigers lead.
Daisy Arrowsmith made it two 10 minutes later with a thunderous finish.
On the hour mark it was 3-0 as Aideen Keane went off on a special solo run, rounding the keeper and slotting home.
Soon after it was four, this time Keane getting onto the end of a Shadeene Evans shot at the back post.
With less than 15 minutes to go, Josie Wilson made it 5-0 after only just coming on as a substitute.
Bankstown pulled back a consolation in some style through Cassidy Chidgey as she found the top corner from outside the box.
NWS Koalas 1-2 Illawarra Stingrays
The Illawarra Stingrays remain in the top five after a tight victory over the North West Sydney Koalas in the final match of the round at Christie Park.
There were no goals till right before half time.
Talitha Kramer rose highest at the far post to head beyond Katie Offer to give the Stingrays a 1-0 lead before the break.
For the second time during the match, the Stingrays doubled their lead from another corner, this time through Erica Halloway who volleyed home.
The Koalas were given a glimmer of hope as Isabella Volkanovski blasted her shot into the back of the net to make it 2-1.
But the home side left it too late as the Stingrays held on.
Rescheduled Round One –
Football NSW Institute 4-2 Sydney Olympic
What a game at Valentine Sports Park on Wednesday night in this rescheduled round one fixture with the youngsters from the Institute taking the points against Sydney Olympic.
It was the Charlie Rule show, scoring a hat-trick and taking home the match ball in a special performance.
Rule opened the scoring on 11 minutes after the Institute forced an error leaving the attacker with the easy opportunity of slotting the ball away.
Just over 10 minutes later and Mackenzie Hawkesby had Olympic level with a neat finish.
Shortly after the Institute were back in front after a fine spot kick from Holly McNamara.
Five minutes into the second period, Rule had her second and the Football NSW Institute made it 3-1.
Jaime Gomez’s team pilled it on and added another as Rule completed her hat-trick with a fantastic finish.
Almost from the kickoff it was 4-2 as Aimee Phillips made a run for the hills before cutting back for Teigen Collister who made no mistake.
Blacktown Spartans 2-3 Sydney University
It was a match of turnarounds at Blacktown Football Park as Sydney University prevailed in a five-goal thriller to take the points against the Blacktown Spartans.
Uni hit the front with absolute incredible goal with a first time volley from well outside the box giving Sally James no chance.
Rosie Galea equalised for the Spartans with a special goal of her own, finding the top corner of the Uni goal.
The Spartans burst into the lead soon after half time as Rosie Galea poked a ball home after a goal mouth scramble.
But that’s where the wheels fell off for the home side.
It didn’t take long for the teams to be level again as Kaitlyn Torpey volleyed home a rebound off the cross bar.
Torpey had her brace in style with another special finish, blasting home on the half volley after the Spartans failed to clear the ball.
RESCHEDULED MIDWEEK FIXTURE
APIA Leichhardt 3-1 Northern Tigers
It was a spectacular Thursday night at Lambert Park as Lisa De Vanna made her APIA Leichhardt debut, helping the home side to victory over the Northern Tigers.
Despite the Tigers holding most of the possession, it was APIA that would strike first.
It was De Vanna that would open the scoring with one of her first touches with an expert finish after an excellent ball from Tori Tumeth.
Just before the break, De Vanna had her brace and doubled APIA’s lead with another fine finish, this time lobbing the ball over the keeper.
With just over 10 minutes to go, the points were safe as Tamires Sousa scored her first of the season after a fine pass from Georgia Yeomaa-Dale.
The Tigers pulled a consolation back late on as Shadeene Evans slotted home her penalty.
By: NIKOLA POZDER, CHIEF NPL NSW WOMEN’S WRITER