Six Rounds into the #NPLWNSW competition and we have five teams locked on 10 points at the top of the table as Female Football Week for 2022 drew to a close.
Yes, you read correctly, five teams!
It is without doubt the closest competition within the Football NSW banner and literally the strongest, most competitive season we have come to witness.
Macarthur Rams 0-2 Sydney Olympic
Sydney Olympic made it four games without defeat with a commanding 2-0 victory over the Macarthur Rams at Lynwood Park on Sunday night.
Since their opening day defeat against Manly, Olympic have been growing week in, week out and look the real deal.
For their opponents, two straight defeats will send Stephen Peters back to the drawing board.
A goal in each half for Olympic was enough with Angelique Hristodoulou opening the scoring from the spot, while Cortnee Vine sealed the win the second.
And it was Vine once again creating problems (getting repetitive every week). Both the attacker and Olympic started on the front foot, pressing right across the park.
The first opportunity came as Vine did well on the right, crossing into the box, only for Sarah Yatim to let fly with a wonderful volley on the turn, rattling the crossbar in the process.
Izzy Foletta had her hands full as Vine once more wreaked havoc down the right, this time crossing for Claudia Cholakian who also could only hit the cross bar.
It would be third time lucky though for Vine and Olympic as the winger this time left Foletta and Holly Williams for dead, before squaring the ball across goal for Cholakian. The Olympic attacker could only send her effort over the goal from a yard out but was adjudged to have been fouled in the process, giving Hristodoulou the opportunity from the spot to make it 1-0.
Olympic almost made it two not long after, Kiara De Domizio put through one-on-one with Brianna Clarke only for the Rams keeper to make a fine save.
The Rams had their best chance of the first half as it came to a close. Mel Caceres picked up the ball outside the area, created herself some space before trying to curl one into the top corner, the ball clipping the top of the bar and going over.
Peters tried to freshen things up in the second half, bringing on Lauren Keir and Kylie Ledbrook but it was still the visitors who looked more likely.
Vine, now playing more central, burst the offside trap and looked odds on to score, only for a phenomenal challenge from Beth Gordan to save the day.
The Rams were still in it somehow at this point but weren’t able to challenge and test Jada Whyman in the Olympic goal.
As the game was heading toward full time, Vine again sprung the offside trap, rounded Clarke and and slotted the ball into the back of the net to make it 2-0.
With the Rams pushing to at least get on the board, Whyman lept through the air and plucked the ball out of the air before setting off the pacey Vine who once more rounded Clarke, only for the Rams keeper to get a vital touch to put Vine off.
It was a fine performance from Olympic to send them to the top of the competition ladder, all without superstar Charlie Rule.
On the other side, the Rams found it tough without their little magician Patty Charalambous and Peters will be eager to get her back as soon as possible.
Sydney University 1-1 Bankstown City
Bankstown City held on for a massive point at Sydney University Football Ground having been reduced to 10 against Sydney University.
Bankstown seemed the more dangerous in the opening 45, peppering the Uni goal but unable to find the breakthrough.
But on 56 minutes that all changed. Emma Ilijoski shot toward goal following a corner, only for Emma Stanbury to save the ball on the line with her hand. Rola Badawiya stepped up to take the spot kick but Brianna Edwards read the Uni striker well and saved to her right.
Uni couldn’t believe their luck with 10 to go as they were awarded another penalty. Bawawiya’s wild effort struck the arm of Baxter Thew as the referee pointed to the spot. This time Rachel Lowe stepped up to take the kick but she also couldn’t find the back of the net, cannoning her effort against the bar. Fortunatley for Uni, Sarah Morgan reacted quickest and bundled the ball home.
At this point, Uni definitely thought they had the points sewn up but it was not to be.
Four minutes from the end of the 90, a poor Uni giveaway in midfield was pounced on by Emily Condon who fed through Paige Hayward. Hayward then fed a ball into the box to Siobhan Edwards whose deflected shot found it’s way into the goal.
A well-deserved point for Bankstown away from home.
Emerging Jets 3-4 Manly United
A seven-goal thriller at Lake Macquarie went the way of Manly United against the Emerging Jets.
It was the youngsters that would hit the front inside the first minute through Claire Adams in some style, catching everyone by surprise from some 35 metres out at least.
On 11 minutes Manly was level, Yuka Honda received the ball just inside the box, turned and shot to find the bottom corner.
10 minutes before the break the visitors turned the result around. Emily Minett found space in the box and with a powerful effort, hit the roof of the net.
Soon after the break, it was 3-1. Nicole Stuart picked up the ball in an advanced position, just outside the box, took a touch before unleashing a thunderbolt to extend Manly’s lead.
The Young Jets team were right back into it a few minutes later. Lara Gooch went on a fantastic run before what looked a cross flew into the back of the net to cut the lead.
Gooch showed the first was no fluke, scoring one of the goals of the season and the equaliser with 15 minutes to go. Gooch stole the ball in midfield before catching the keeper off her line and letting go with a shot from almost halfway.
The Jets were on their way to their first points of the season before Polly Doran stole it from them. It was heartbreak for the Jets as Dorran’s fine run was completed with a neat finish, catching the keeper out.
It was a fine performance from the Jets who can be proud of their comeback and battle they put up, while United move to equal first on the ladder.
NWS Spirit 1-2 Illawarra Stingrays
The Stingrays secured their first win of the season with a tight victory against fellow strugglers NWS Spirit in the final game on Sunday night.
Two early girls helped the Stingrays get the job done as they held on for their first win of the season.
Illawarra opened the scoring almost immediately from the kick off, 15 seconds to be exact. Michelle Carney getting onto the end of a Caitlin Cooper goal for the perfect start to the match for the visitors.
Eight minutes later and it was two as the guests doubled their advantage. This time Cooper took advantage of some poor defending from Spirit who failed to clear their lines, sending a thunderbolt into the back of the net.
Spirit then gave themselves enough time to get back into the game, scoring with just over 10 to go. A long ball over the top saw Morgan Roberts springing the offside trap and halving the deficit.
They couldn’t find another though as the Stingrays held on to claim an important three points.
-By NPL NSW Women’s Chief Writer and Commentator Nikola Pozder