There would be no change at the top of the competition ladder after round nine action in the NPL NSW Women’s competition.
The Macarthur Rams got back to winning ways this week in the top of the table clash, while there was a first win of the season for Bankstown City.
A superb turnaround at Blacktown Football Park has the Spartans edging closer to the top five, while Sydney Olympic scored a massive victory in a direct clash with a premiership rival.
While the Northern Tigers and Sydney University kept the pressure on the league leaders with victories.
North West Sydney Koalas 2-3 Northern Tigers
In front of a packed crowd at Christie Park on Saturday night, it was the Northern Tigers that took the points in a five-goal thriller.
The first half got off to a timid start with both sides looking to expose the other tactically.
It took up until 10 minutes from half time for the away side to be gifted the perfect opportunity to hit the front from the penalty spot.
Lauren Allan made no mistake from the spot, finding the bottom left corner.
It seemed the goal brought the game to life as the Tigers soon doubled their advantage.
Aideen Keane showed all her skill and speed as she danced through the Koalas defence before slotting a ball across goal for Allan who made no mistake and secured her second of the evening.
Minutes later and the home side was back in the game.
It was a case of ‘whatever you can do I can do better’ from Sophie Harding, slaloming through the Tigers defence as the ball dropped for Isabella Volkanovski who blasted the ball home.
Eight minutes into the second half, in confusing circumstances it was 3-1 for the Tigers.
Malia Steinmetz let fly with an absolute piledriver which came off the underside of the bar and according to the assistant referee, over the line.
It was a perfect strike for the Tigers midfield.
Keane should’ve made it 4-1 not long after but she pulled her shot wide.
Just on the hour mark and once more the Koalas pulled themselves back into the contest.
A nice team move saw the pace of Sophie Harding explode through the Tigers defence and then roll the ball into the goal to make it 3-2.
The home side ran out of energy though and couldn’t find an equalising goal.
Blacktown Spartans 4-2 Manly United
In an incredible come back, the Blacktown Spartans overturned a two-goal deficit to go home 4-2 victors.
Tara Andrews scored two goals inside the first 35 minutes before Maja Markovski halved the score right on half time.
Markovski scored two more after the break to complete her hat-trick as substitute Tiarne Flavin rounded off the scoring late in the piece.
Blacktown had the first chance, Maja Markovski forcing Isabella Whitton into a save.
It was the away team that struck first just after 10 minutes.
Emily Minnett one the ball off Courtney Nevin inside the Spartans box, cutting the ball back for Tara Andrews who placed the ball into the back of the net.
They almost doubled their lead after a fantastic diagonal ball from Sophie Nenadovic for Remy Siemsen who took her touch into the box and fired toward goals, forcing Sally James to tip the ball onto the bar.
Annie Daczko then made a penalty in a freak moment, clearing the ball onto her hand, giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot.
Andrews stepped up to take the spot kick and even though James picked the side and almost pulled off an incredible save, the shot went into the top corner.
Siemsen again thought she had scored, this time forcing James to make another unbelievable save, literally plucking the ball out of the top corner.
On the stroke of half time though, the Spartans had a lifeline.
Kyra Cooney-Cross delivered a free kick into the box which Hana Lowry flicked onto to Markovski who finished with ease.
The Spartans carried that form into the second half, Cooney-Cross delivering toward Lowry who couldn’t direct her volley goal wards.
In an almost identical move on the hour mark, Rosie Galea played in Cooney-Cross who this time found Markovski who placed the ball into the far corner.
Cooney-Cross was everywhere and almost scored a spectacular goal, catching Whitton off her line from more than 40 metres out, only for her shot to come off the bar. The rebound fell to Markovski who headed over the bar.
With 15 minutes to go, the Spartans were in front.
The home side’s striker rounded off her hat-trick with a thunderbolt from outside the area, giving Whitton no chance.
Spartans substitute Tiarne Flavin completed the victory after pinching the ball off the Manly defence before finishing in the bottom corner.
‘Resilience’ was the key word for Brad Attard.
“We weren’t in the game for the first 35 minutes, but we showed great resilience to score four goals in 46 minutes and turn it around,” said the Spartans coach.
There was one word for Tom Hopley to describe his sides performance.
“Devastating. I thought they tactically didn’t change anything but when you got players like Cooney-Cross, who I thought we were brilliant against in the first 45 and then we just went flat and got punished,” said Hopley.
APIA Leichhardt 2-3 Sydney Olympic
A late strike insured that Sydney Olympic will go home with three points against APIA Leichhardt in a massive match in front of a healthy crowd as part of the ‘Festival of Football’ festivities at Lambert Park.
The home side started the brighter and hit the front inside 10 minutes as Lisa De Vanna blasted home a shot from inside the box.
Less than two minutes later Olympic were level as Alexia Karrys-Stahl finished off a fine team move in style.
The away side turned the score line around as Taylor Ray placed a fine shot into the back of the net.
On the hour mark the home side were level after an excellent shot from Grace Maher from just outside the area.
The game look destined for a draw until the best goal of the afternoon from Sarah Yatim had Olympic returning to Belmore with all three points.
Sydney University 3-0 Emerging Jets
Sydney University made light work of the Emerging Jets on Sunday afternoon, taking all three points with a 3-0 victory.
It took 10 minutes for Uni to hit the front, Clare Wheeler pouncing on a goalkeeping area to put Uni in front.
Holly Caspers doubled the advantage before the half hour mark with a smart finish into the back of the net.
Caspers then had her second in fortuitous circumstances, her cross came shot found the top corner and settled the points for Uni.
Bankstown City 1-0 Illawarra Stingrays
There was something to sing about finally at Jensen Park as Bankstown City defeated the Illawarra Stingrays.
It was Matthew Costatini’s first win of 2021 with the Lions as the team will now look to build on that success.
It was the away side who had the earlier chances, unable to break the deadlock.
But it was Meleri Mullan who took the ball from within her own half before placing the ball expertly into the back of the net.
They didn’t really look like conceding after that goal and held onto to that solitary goal advantage to secure their first three points of the season.
Macarthur Rams 2-0 Football NSW Institute
It was always going to be a test of character for the Rams after last week’s defeat but they showed great resolve to come back and record a 2-0 victory against the Football NSW Institute.
The top of the table clash got off to a perfect start for the home side.
Inside the first 10 minutes the Rams were in front as Leena Khamis took advantage of some sloppy defending after a good cross in by Rachael Goldstein.
Khamis turned provider on 25 minutes, picking out Hayley Taylor-Young who made no mistake with her finish, doubling the home side’s advantage.
There’d be no adjustments to the score line for the rest of the match as the Rams remain on top of the competition ladder.
BY: NIKOLA POZDER, CHIEF NPL NSW WOMEN’S WRITER