Five teams are locked on 10 points at the top of the #NPLWNSW competition ladder as we enter round 7.
There is another pack of teams just below, closesly following those above them and eagerly anticipating any slip ups.
Bankstown City v NWS Spirit
Bankstown City will host the NWS Spirit In the first match of round seven at Jensen Park on Sunday afternoon.
The home team will enter this one in full confidence having come away from Sydney University Football Ground with a well-earned point having played the majority of the second half with a player less.
Matthew Costatini’s team will feel they were even perhaps the better team for the majority of the match last weekend and will be desperate to secure their third win of the campaign to keep them within touching distance of the leading pack.
Spirit missed their chance to record their first win of the season against fellow strugglers Illawarra on Sunday night. Slow starts seem to be the thorn in Adam Keramea’s side so far this season and something they need to tidy up.
Generally, they have fought back in the second 45 minutes but don’t give themselves enough time to get back into the fixture.
Blacktown Spartans v Emerging Jets
The Blacktown Spartans are back in action this week as they face off against the Emerging Jets at Blacktown Football Park on Sunday.
Having had last week off due to having 10 players away in Young Matildas camp, the Spartans will be looking to continue their fine start to the 2022 campaign. Brad Attard’s girls have put up their ‘shield wall’ and are yet to concede a goal in the new season.
They have not been as prolific as they’d like though, scoring only three goals in their three victories and it is one part of their game they need to sharpen up.
It was a case of ‘oh so close’ for the Jets on Sunday. They fought back fantastically, thought they had a point secured, only to concede late and suffer their fourth loss in as many starts.
They will look to Lara Gooch to star once more, just as she did last week with her goal of the season contender.
Football NSW Institute v Northern Tigers
An exciting clash awaits us at Valentine Sports Park on Sunday afternoon as the Football NSW Institute host the Northern Tigers.
They are still looking for their first win of the season, but do not be fooled by the Institute. They are a quality young team who have been unlucky already on a few occasions.
The two games they lost, they lost by the odd goal against some of the competition heavy weights. Sienna Saveska has been in good form and could be key for the Institute.
What a start to the campaign for the Northern Tigers. One of five teams at the top of the league table locked on 10 points, defeating the league leaders a couple weeks ago. They also kept their first clean sheet of the season having conceded six in their opening three matches.
Jake Stephenson’s side has a couple big games over 72 hours and this would be the perfect way to move into Tuesday’s clash with the Spartans.
Illawarra Stingrays v Macarthur Rams
Finally, the Illawarra Stingrays will play their first home game of the season at JJ Kelly Park when they welcome the Macarthur Rams.
Yes, you read correctly, round seven will be the first time the Stingrays will play a home game after four away trips and a washout. They arrive at JJ Kelly full of confidence having grabbed their first win of the season the week before.
Michelle Carney really does not age, she is the team’s top scorer and once more leading from the front and pulling the strings.
Two straight defeats for Stephen Peters’ team and the Rams drop down to sixth on the competition ladder. They need to bounce back as soon as possible to continue their charge for the Premiership.
The Rams have also been kept goalless in their last two encounters, which is uncharacteristic having scored 11 goals in their first three matches. Missing Patty Charalambous has definitely hurt the side and Peters would like to see his playmaker back as soon as possible.
Manly United v APIA Leichhardt
From 5pm at Cromer Park on Sunday evening, Manly United will host APIA Leichhardt.
Sitting in second place so far this season, Manly United will be very happy with the start they have made. They would have felt they could have potentially got more but had some one offered them this prior to round one, they would have taken it.
With four draws in their first six games, Manly is currently only one of three undefeated teams in the competition. They let 3-1 leads in their last two matches slip but managed to score a late winner to take the points last week.
Spencer Prior needs to get three points here to stay in touch with the leaders, after only two wins in their first five games APIA aren’t currently where they would like to be on the competition ladder.
Shea Connors has been their best player so far this campaign and needs her team mates around her to step up. There is more than enough quality for APIA to get on a run and this would be a real statement match if they can get the job done.
Sydney Olympic v Sydney University
The biggest match of round 7 takes place at Peter Moore Field as Sydney Olympic host Sydney University.
The girls from Belmore are definitely hitting their stride as they comfortable got the job done against Macarthur last weekend. Two straight wins and two straight clean sheets, Olympic hasn’t looked back since their opening day defeat.
With Mackenzie Hawkesby back in the squad and Cortnee Vine absolutely flying at the moment, George Beltsos will be pleased to see his team improving every week.
Uni would have been disappointed not being able to hold on with 10 minutes to go against an opposition reduced to 10 last week.
Only one loss this season for Uni and they are another sharing the lead at the top of the competition ladder. A Uni win would be a massive statement against one of the most in form teams in the league and favourites to win the Championship.
-By NPL NSW Women’s Chief Writer and Commentator Nikola Pozder