Only four games took place in round three of the NPL NSW Women’s competition but that did not mean that we were robbed of the action we’ve grown to expect in this amazing league.
NWS Spirit 1-2 Northern Tigers
The Northern Tigers made it two wins from two starts with a tight 2-1 derby victory over NWS Spirit at Christie Park on Saturday night.
A double header in Sydney’s North West saw the League One Men’s clash between the same two teams lead us into the NPL NSW Women’s match.
A great atmosphere with a raucous crowd saw the visitors hit the front after only eight minutes. Ashlee Brodigan took an in-swinging corner from the left and in superb style, beat Katie Offer and curled the ball directly into the goal.
Spirit reacted well and tested the Tigers keeper through Sunny Franco and Sasha Grove.
The visitors held their lead until half time as the teams went into the break at 1-0 for the Tigers.
Only four minutes into the second period and the away team doubled their advantage. Some fine work by Malia Steinmetz down the left flank saw her get to the by-line before cutting the ball back for Maddie Bart who made no mistake with her finish beyond Offer.
It was the worst possible start for Spirit and reminiscent to what happened less than a week ago.
Almost from the kick off though Spirit were back in the contest.
Lucy Johnson picked up the ball in midfield and played it through delightfully for Franco. Spirit’s striker picked the ball up inside the box and smashed it beyond Aquino in the Tigers goal.
Spirit could not create a proper chance for the remaining forty minutes as the visitors controlled the game.
The Tigers themselves created opportunities mostly through Brodigan who was a danger all game on the Spirit goal.
It was a memorable match for Nat Tobin who celebrated her 150th match with the NWS Spirit FC side, congrats again on an amazing feat!
Blacktown Spartans 0-0 Manly United
The Blacktown Spartans and Manly United could not be separated Sunday evening at Blacktown Football Park.
The goal scorers weren’t up to the task as neither team could break the deadlock.
It was the home team that had the first real chance of the game, Rosie Galea’s effort was somehow kept out by Manly custodian Nicole Simonsen.
It took almost an hour for the next real chance to fall.
Simonsen spilled a shot from the left before Maja Markovski missed what seemed easier to score from only a few yards out.
Neither side was able to create a real chance in what was left of the game and had to share the points.
Bankstown City 1-2 Sydney Olympic
For much of this match the home side looked to be heading for a massive three points at Jensen Park until Sydney Olympic turned it all around in the final 10 minutes.
Bankstown hit the front in incredible fashion after only four minutes on the clock. Baxter Thew had a go from where nobody expected and with no right to score from so far out but she did, finding the top corner of Jada Whyman’s goal.
Olympic then piled on the pressure from there, creating many chances without properly testing Brianna Edwards.
Cortnee Vine was causing all sorts of issues for the home team but Olympic could not break the deadlock.
Olympic’s evening almost came to an end as substitute Siobhan Edwards broke through the visitor’s defence, got beyond Whyman but could only hit her shot against the upright.
Almost immediately from there, Olympic was level.
Vine was the architect, electric down the right wing before cutting back for Charlie Rule who finished first time into the far top corner.
The home side tried to respond, went close on a couple occasions but the points were going back to Belmore.
In the 89th minute as the rain poured at Jensen Park, Rule set up Claudia Cholakian who placed the ball beyond Edwards to secure the win.
It was Cholakian’s first match back for the Blues following her call-up to the Armenian National Team, and what a way to kick start her Olympic season with a winner and three points.
APIA Leichhardt FC 3-1 Illawarra Stingrays
APIA Leichhardt secured a massive three points on the back of a fine Shea Connors performance, defeating the Illawarra Stingrays 3-1 at Lambert Park.
Connors was in sensational form, scoring a hat-trick and was a real menace to the Stingrays defence who could not deal with her speed and fine technique.
It was the Stingrays though that started the better without properly testing Sophie Magus in the APIA goal.
APIA would create the first chance, a great determined run by Connors saw her beat her defender before slamming her shot against the upright from a tight angle.
Connors was at it again shortly after, this time Sian Fryer-McLaren was quick off her line to force the APIA striker into a rushed shot which sailed over the bar.
The American would cap off a fine team move minutes before the break.
It started from the defence, before Princess Ibini stormed down the right flank, cutting the ball back for Rhianna Pollicina whose deft touch found Connors. Connors rounded Fryer-McLaren before stopping and allowing for the Stingrays keeper and defence to set themselves up before calmly slotting the ball home.
Less than a minute after the break, APIA should have been two-nil up but Sophie Hoban could only hit the crossbar from an ideal position.
Fifteen minutes later and APIA doubled their advantage.
Pollicina played through Connors who once more finished with ease, hitting her shot against the inside of the upright before crossing the line.
Shortly after, the Stingrays had a lifeline.
APIA was struggling to deal with corners all night and this situation was no different as Tayleah Handcock reacted quickest in the box to volley home.
Any Stingrays hope of a comeback were put to bed less than 60 seconds later as Connors rounded off her hat-trick. Picking up the ball inside the area, it was a one-two bang as she placed the ball beyond Fryer-McLaren with her second touch.
APIA continued to dominate the game as it moved on and gave the Stingrays no chance of getting back into the game.
-By NPL NSW Women’s Chief Writer and Commentator Nikola Pozder