Round 4 Preview – NPL 2 NSW Men’s

Ready up, it’s Round 4 of the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Mens!

After being hammered by the rain last weekend, we’ll be hoping for clear skies to set the scene for another enticing round of football. Last round, four sides found themselves with a weekend off, those players will be aching to get back onto the park, will their fresh legs do the trick?

Find out what’s on offer, as we shake ourselves dry and gear up for the weekend!

Match of the Round: GHFA Spirit FC vs. Northern Tigers FC – 7pm Saturday 23rd March, Christie Park

It’s a return to Christie Park and a rekindling of the old North Shore derby, what a time for the sides to clash!

Spirit are running hot and leading the league, winning three from three, whereas Tigers perfect start hit a bump in the road last week when Hills ended their streak. It’s still so early in the season, yet so much is at stake, including the ever-present bragging rights for 2019 up for grabs.

Spirit’s deadly duo of Louis Bozanic and Duncan Stewart have had a sharp eye for goal thus far and aiming to net once again to send their home crowd roaring. Their form and presence on the park will mean Tigers keeper Tonu Liiband has to be at his shot stopping best.

No doubt Tigers will have their sights set to end Spirit’s run and rest assured it will be intense and passionate fixture for the full ninety. It’s all set to excite, let the derby commence!

St George FC vs. Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC – 7pm Saturday 23rd March, Ilinden Sports Centre

It’s yet another big clash on Saturday evening as the two sides meet for the first time this season.

The Saints earned their first three points last week and it has come with impeccable timing. They will be full of confidence and ready to tackle Bonnyrigg, a side still searching for their first points.

Putting on another impressive first half display this Saturday will be the key for Wally Savor and his men as the goal will be to put the game to bed sooner rather than later.

Bonnyrigg sit lowly on the table and still without a win but with a game in hand, yet, they know things will begin to fall into place once they get themselves on the board.

With three home games in a row following this weekend, a win against the Saints will set them up nicely to take aim at racing up the ladder in the coming weeks.

Hills United FC vs. North Shore Mariners FC – 7pm Saturday 23rd March, Lily Homes Stadium

Hills marched home last week with a win against the in-form Tigers and a healthy dose of confidence, an almost perfect way to prepare for this weekend.

For coach Patrick Zwaanswijk it’s all about ensuring his side keeps their momentum through each game, consistently working and earning rewards along the way. You are not likely to see too many changes for this side as recent form suggests they seem to have found the right track.

North Shore faced minimal threat in their match against Macarthur last week, convincingly gaining another three points and keeping a clean sheet. It’s now two out of three for the side that is still roaming on their away stretch.

It’s not likely to be a similar affair this weekend for the visitors as their hosts will be sure to make them work. In recent times, each side has irked others by being stubborn and difficult to face, expect to see another tight match up with some physical play between the sides.

Macarthur Rams FC vs. Western Sydney Wanderers FC – 7pm Saturday 23rd March, Lynwood Park

The Rams will have been looking forward to this fixture as soon as the final whistle blew last week. It was not the greatest performance by the side and the easiest way to fix that is focus on the next task at hand and stick at it.

Western Sydney picked up their second win of the year against Spartans, despite being heavily depleted in troops. They are hoping to have regained one or two players for this week’s fixture, a relief for the players out on the park.

It’s set to be an interesting fixture as the Rams try to reclaim their honour at home with the Wanderers hoping to smash, grab and rise into the top four.

Mounties Wanderers FC vs. Blacktown Spartans FC – 7pm Saturday 23rd March, Sydney United Sports Centre

Come on Mounties, show us what you have got!

After last week’s clash against Bonnyrigg was called off it would have left the player’s in a state of peak anticipation. Spectators too.

There is a lot of promise to what this side is capable of and we are all in waiting to see the full extent of their potential.

Spartans performed brilliantly in Round 1 and currently, have not recaptured the same outcome. There has been plenty of moments for the side to savour, it seems they just need to lock up some errors and away they go.

Coach Paul Hubbard will have his side hard at work in preparation for Mounties whose attacking threat will pose problems and pounce on any chance given.

It’s going to be a tense and competitive clash, each side ready for battle and to get their season on a roll.

St George City FA vs. Canterbury Bankstown FC – 3pm Sunday 24th March, Seymour Shaw

City have a great chance to get themselves on the board this weekend as they play host to the Berries. Sitting bottom of the table is not the fondest sight, yet with a win they could rise towards mid table, without using their game in hand.

It’s a reward worth chasing and with the fresh legs, the objective will be utilising the advantage to edge their opponents out of the game early and keep them on the run.

The gears have not quite clicked yet for the Berries and having lost a couple of players to injury it could mean things only get worse. They were at times picked apart by St George last weekend but their performance in the second half will have given them a glimpse of promise.

If they can begin this fixture how they finished last week, it will place them in a prime position to earn some points and climb up the ladder.

Central Coast Mariners FC vs. Rydalmere Lions FC – 4pm Sunday 24th March, Pluim Park

This clash has us bear witness to two youthful and talented sides, a fantastic way to cap off the weekend.

Mariners were told to pack up and go home last week as their game was postponed, the players will now be rearing to go and fresh from the weekend off. The youngsters are eager to get back onto the pitch and notch up another win in front of the home fans.

Rydalmere have been running a little under the radar and last weekend succumbed to Spirit losing their first match of the season. The young side is playing some fantastic football as of late and their current position on ladder is well deserved. How they cope from the loss last weekend will be the next big hurdle for the Lions.

The Mariners are always difficult to face at home, and the Lions are out to prove their place, we are set for a Sunday evening spectacular!

NPL 2 Chief Writer – Marcus Flottmann

Twitter – @MarcusFlottmann

Source FNSW website

Round 3 Preview – NPL 2 NSW Women’s

Rain, rain go away as National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Women’s sides hope the washouts which wiped out much of Round 2 don’t materialise again for Round 3 and spoil what shapes up to be another exciting weekend of NPL2 Womens action.

Western NSW Mariners vs Sutherland Shire FA, Sunday 24 March, 1:35pm, Marjorie Jackson Field

The round kicks off in Lithgow, as Western NSW Mariners aim to build on their point as they tussle with Sutherland Shire FA at Marjorie Jackson Field on Sunday afternoon.

The Mariners got themselves off the duck egg when a late Larissa Kilby header earnt them a point against a tough UNSW FC side. Sutherland Shire FA had their home opener washed out against APIA Leichhardt Tigers, nice and fresh for the trip to the central west.

Mariners coach Josh Ward enjoyed an improved performance from his side in their home opener. The return of Anna Hunt helped their cause with her goal. Against Shire FA, it will be a tough afternoon for custodian Jess Daymond to repel a potent Shire attack and maybe claim the first upset of the season.

For Shire FA, they will simply need to just pick up where they left off. Seven goals in their opening fixture is one way to send a message about their intent on the season. After their sorrowful season in NPL1, they got back the joy of victory and have both Jordan Baker and Brittany Christie firing already in what works out to be an intriguing fixture to kick off the weekend.

Marconi Stallions vs Inter Lions, Sunday 24 March, 3pm, Marconi Stadium

Marconi get a chance at redemption at home, they welcome Inter Lions to Marconi Stadium, as both teams aim to get there seasons off to a start this weekend.

Both teams have had a fortnight to stew on their Round 1 losses, the Stallions were handed a 7-1 loss from Sutherland Shire FA meanwhile Inter Lions fell narrowly, 2-nil, to UNSW FC on a steamy afternoon.

The Stallions will be out to show they are better than their last home result. New signing Jasmin Courtenay will be keen to open her account, as will strike partner Jess Beale. Meanwhile, Inter Lions hope they can keep things compact against the more fancied Stallions and possibly continue the home sides woes on Sunday afternoon.

UNSW FC vs St George FC, Sunday 24 March, 3pm, Wentworth Park

It’s home time for UNSW FC! After two away trips, the goalposts are up at Wentworth Park, ready for them to take on St George FC, on Sunday afternoon in the final of the 3pm kick-offs.

Four points in a good return for UNSW FC in their first two games after a 2-2 draw forced them to share points against Western NSW Mariners. For St George FC, it was back to the drawing board after a 3-1 loss to Nepean FC in Round 1.

The students took a while to get going last week, but coach Alex Nolan is confident in the set-up of the side and their response to going behind. They face another challenge against a burnt Saints side, starting the contest quickly and continue their impressive start to the season, in their first home game of the season.

St George FC had a poor start to last season which doomed them by the halfway point. They will be keen to avoid a similar fate in 2019, and pick up some points on the road early in the campaign. If they can keep the game tight at the back then feed Yadira Renfigo and Amy Bennett up front, it makes for an interesting contest at Wentworth Park.

Central Coast Mariners vs SD Raiders FC, Sunday 24 March, 4pm, Pluim Park

We have a semi-final rematch set up as SD Raiders, take a trip to the Central Coast, taking on the Mariners at Pluim Park on Sunday afternoon.

Both sides will look to build on their first start victories – Mariners defeating their sister club Western NSW whilst SD Raiders had a comfortable 4-nil success against Southern Branch FC – now the two heavyweight clubs have an early season clash.

Mariners hope to welcome back some troops with the extra week off, with some senior players to come back. In their stead, the younger brigade led by double hero, Indianna Auddino, alongside new recruit, Danielle Wise will keep SD Raiders keeper, Natasha Pentecost – who pulled off some remarkable saves last season for Inter Lions – busy across the afternoon.

For SD Raiders, they held a healthy advantage over Mariners last season, triumphing in both the regular season performances before the yellow-and-navy snuck home in the semi-final. They head to Pluim Park confident, and in form, after their performance in Nowra which included a debut goal for Tara Baudana. So, we’re set for a wonderful exhibition of football with hopefully some sunshine on the coast.

Gladesville Ravens vs Nepean FC, Sunday 24 March, 6pm, Christie Park

Nepean FC head to Christie Park looking to clip Gladesville Ravens wings on Sunday night in a battle between two finals aspirants, keen to build off their early success.

Gladesville were one of the few to get on the pitch last weekend, registering a 10-nil tonking of Southern Branch FC, down in Nowra whilst the field closed sign was dug deep into the Cook Park turf after the deluge in Sydney last week.

Emily Diaz continued her strong start to the season, six goals in two games is an impressive return for any striker. She has some strong support in midfielder Yume Kashima – who bagged a brace herself – and Amelia Vitek which will pose a big threat for a Nepean FC defense to handle.

The visitors were one of the stronger defensive units in 2018, marshalled by Desiree Vassallo, need to keep their mettle against a potent attack. Nepean FC have their own weapons at their disposal with Stefanie Trovato, Britney Pelle and youngster Imogen Lane to make for an entertaining contest at Christie Park.

APIA Leichhardt Tigers vs Southern Branch FC, Sunday 24 March, 7pm, Lambert Park

It’s a tough ask for Southern Branch FC, they make the tough trip to Lambert Park, taking on a rested APIA Leichhardt Tigers, in the league’s nightcap under the bright lights.

APIA have had two weeks to lick their wounds after their 2-1 defeat to Gladesville Ravens in Round 1’s Match of the Round but may have a spring in their step, seeing that Southern Branch FC conceded 14 goals in their two opening fixtures, ready to pounce.

In patches, APIA looked their slick selves in the Ravens defeat. Georgia Bridges had an encouraging debut, former SD Raiders trio led by Cass Chidgey were energetic. They will eye off a fixture against the previously mentioned porous Southern Branch FC side, to gain confidence and their first three points of the season.

Regarding the visitors, it has been a tough opening fortnight. There is plenty of talent developing down on the south coast and they will want to find some positives in their play, maybe find the back of the net a few times against one of the competition front runners.

By Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)

Source FNSW website

Round 2 Review – NPL 2 NSW Women’s

National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Women’s Review – Round 2

The deluge across Sydney this weekend saw four matches washed out but the pair of contests that went ahead provided enough drama and goals to fill out a whole weekend in the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Womens competition. Let’s get onto the review.

Western NSW Mariners 2 drew with UNSW FC 2

A late header saw Western NSW Mariners pick up their first point of the season, as they battled to a 2-2 draw against UNSW FC, on a damp afternoon at Marjorie Jackson Field today.

The first half resembled the dark weather that drenched Sydney all weekend. Both sides battled hard for control in the midfield but it didn’t produce any goals, so the two sides headed into the break, locked up at 0-0.

On her return to the team after Junior Matildas duties, Anna Hunt got the scoring underway for Western NSW Mariners with a well-taken goal, made it 1-nil. UNSW FC responded in kind with Rebecca Browning equalising for the students, her first goal for the club after her move from Sydney Olympic FC.

From there, UNSW wrest control of the contest. They started to play their style and took the lead through Jessie Kuang, as it looked like they were going to make it two from two to start the season, laying a good platform for the rest of their challenge.

Just as UNSW FC Alex Nolan readied to bank the points, Larissa Kilby popped up with a dramatic header from a corner, making it 2-2 and sending the Mariners fans, who made the trip out into celebration mode with their first point of the season.

Afterwards Nolan admitted that his side weren’t up to scratch tonight, not playing to their usual standard and were made to pay for it with the late equaliser.

Southern Branch FC 0 defeated by Gladesville Ravens 10

It was raining goals down in the south coast, Gladesville Ravens routed Southern Branch FC, 10-nil, down at South Nowra Football Complex on a damp Sunday afternoon.

Emily Diaz took the headlines with a five-goal haul building on her game winner from last weekend, as Gladesville Ravens raced out to an ominous 7-nil lead at the break. Building on her substitute performance, Yume Kashima scored a brace in the first half.

Rounding off the scoring was Eleanor Lidbetter, Amelia Vitek last weekend’s other goal scorer making two goals in as many weeks and Kasia Wojtowicz made it a perfect 10 with Gladesville Ravens taking top position albeit in a shortened weekend of football.

The improvement shown in first fortnight of the competition by the Ravens with 12 goals scored, shows they will be a tough side to beat this season whilst Southern Branch FC will lick their wounds and try to get their first points next week.

Washed out matches:

Nepean FC vs Marconi Stallions

Sutherland Shire FA vs APIA Leichhardt Tigers

SD Raiders vs Inter Lions

St George FC vs Central Coast Mariners

Round 3 Review – NPL 2 NSW Men’s

Not even the heavy downpour could stop the show from going on as Round 3 of the National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s copped a dose of unpredictable Sydney weather.

Three was the flavour of the weekend, with all but one winning side scoring three goals on their way to victory, including a result which leaves only one team left unbeaten.

Find out who had fun in the rain and those who went home drenched and in sorrow.

Match of the Round: Macarthur Rams v North Shore Mariners

The North Shore Mariners kept themselves focused in a comfortable win over Macarthur Rams, taking the points and leaving the Rams to wring themselves out.

The home side struggled to make an impact throughout the full ninety minutes barely making any threats on goal.

It was anything but pretty as the weather influenced the fixture from kick off to the final whistle leaving the players drenched from head to toe. During the first fifteen minutes of the match, each side fought hard to get a foothold as the surface changed from slippery to soppy back and forth.

Both sides looked to build on their momentum from last week’s wins but neither could find the right combination upon hitting the final third with attacks at either end of the field breaking down easily.

Midway through the first half, North Shore began to find their feet and made headway towards the opening goal. A Daniel Saric free kick seemed like it might sneak in at the front post but for Jair Fernandez parrying it away, only into the path of Rainer Smahel who threw his head back in despair as he knocked the ball over the crossbar from close range.

It would be a sign that obviously the visitors did not pick up on as soon after Mitchell Smith did give the visitors the lead. A pinpoint pass from Ricky Woodward found Smith on the edge of the box who turned on his defender and wriggled into space before firing low and hard squeezing the ball past the front post and into the back of the net.

North Shore should have doubled their lead minutes later, but it was hands on head in disbelief. A deep corner forced Rams keeper Jair Fernandez to attempt to punch it clear though it dropped short for Harrison Quirk. His snap shot should have hit the target, but from six yards he pushed it wide with the open goal begging.

As the players returned to the field for the second half, so did the rain. The downpour soured the flow of the match and once again it became a struggle for both sides to gain control. Just as it had slowed the match, as soon as the rain halted the pace lifted and North Shore were once again the side who took advantage.

Breaking forward quickly, North Shore fired the ball up to Mitchell Smith who made a beautiful turn on his defender but lost possession on his second touch. Fortunately, the ball was knocked into the path of Joshua Mbakwe who displayed pace and power, racing into the box whilst holding off his defender, before sliding a past the keeper.

Minutes later it was the third and final goal for North Shore sealing the deal and eventually the three points. Daniel Saric firing in a dangerous cross to the far post was spilled by Jair Fernandez and in the ensuing scramble Braden Cheng was quickest to react, knocking the loose ball into the back of the empty net.

The match began to open up, however, it was more of the same. A battle in the midfield of the park as creating chances in the final third became a rarity.

Macarthur’s best chance came as injury time was looming, looking to grab a consolation for their efforts. Ben Cornish tried a most audacious volley from the edge of the area which was struck clean and true, however right into the hands of the keeper.

Match Stats

Macarthur Rams FC 0

North Shore Mariners FC 3 (M. Smith, J. Mbakwe, B. Cheng)

Macarthur Rams: C. Cooley, B. Cornish, M. Elongo, L. Fatica, J. Fernandez, A. Guzman, A. Haddad, C. Hanagan, M. Mclintock, S. Onana Awono, M. Sadler, C. Sheerin, E. Squillacioti, M. Stojanovski, S. Tomasich, M. Trotter

North Shore Mariners: B. Cheng, B. Jamba, C. Linsday, J. Mbakwe, J. Piriz, T. Purcell, H. Quirk, C. Rosano, D. Saric, N. Separovic, R. Smahel, M. Smith, M. Smith, J. Wilde, R. Wood, R. Woodward

Bonnyrigg White Eagles FC vs. Mounties Wanderers FC

The clash has been left to simmer as it was postponed due to the weather.

GHFA Spirit FC 3 vs. Rydalmere Lions FC 2

Spirit remain the only side undefeated as they picked their moments against a Lions opposition in a highly entertaining match that ran all the way.

It was the visitors who got themselves going early in this fixture and they had the best of the first twenty minutes of the match. Hassan Jalloh was looking to wreak havoc down the wing and was rewarded for his intent to score. After a menacing run that eventuated in a penalty he stepped up and converted.

The Lions had a golden chance to double their lead shortly after but will be ruing a missed one-on-one opportunity.

In front of home Spirit fought back and their patience payed off yet again when they equalised through golden boot front runner Duncan Stewart. A handball in the box was all it took for the striker, as he stuck his penalty into the back of the net with authority on the stroke of half time, giving his side momentum as they headed into the sheds.

Spirit found their rhythm and became more dominant in the second half, bagging their second and third goals in quick succession midway through the second half. Louis Bozanic and once again Duncan Stewart getting their names in highlights..

A late push came from the Lions as they attempted to rescue a point, scoring through Luke Grima to put pressure on the hosts but it eventuate as a consolation to end the match.

St George FC 3 vs. Canterbury Bankstown FC 1

Finally, the Saints have their first win of the season, whereas it’s a familiar story for the Berries.

St George got themselves onto the front foot early and did not look back with three first half goals all that was needed for the home side as they took apart the Berries defence.

Marcus Beattie netted a brace with an early opener and following it up again to give the home side a two goal advantage. The first half dominance was capped off by Bradley Bartels and the Saints marched into the sheds full of confidence.

The second half proved a different game as Berries, forced to make changes due to injury, looked a side awake and ready to play. They pressed hard and took the game to the Saints creating themselves chances to get back into the match.

St George would hold strong and almost put another nail in the coffin, only to miss a late penalty.

Despite losing the fixture the Berries won the second half as Gino Cerasoli scored from a corner to give his side consolation in injury time.

Northern Tigers FC 2 vs. Hills United FC 3

In another exciting affair, Hills grabbed three points and the upset result of the weekend, when they scored late in the tie to stop the Tigers in their tracks. A fair and well spirited game that had all supporters screaming for more.

There was a clear sign of intention from the visitors when they opened the scoring through Nathan Rayner just five minutes into the match.

Tigers would respond in kind by taking their own measures of control over the game and found a response just before the twenty minute mark when Joshua Swadling hit the net.

Several minutes later they had taken the lead, this time with long serving Luke Dawson curling a beauty into the top corner adding another goal to his collection.

Most would have expected the Tigers to carry on the momentum from the first half yet it was Hills who struck back and grabbing a goal from Jordan Parfait just after halftime, setting up a fight to the finish.

It was an open game through much of the second half and both Hills and Tigers worked their way into numerous good goal scoring opportunities. Each had their chances in front of goal, neither finding the right shot to hit the mark.

As time was running out, Hills caught the Tigers out, getting the ball into a dangerous area in the box, Alex Vlismas was on hand to net the winner for the visitors.

Western Sydney Wanderers FC 3 vs. Blacktown Spartans FC 1

Both sides copped late goals in their matches last week so it was no surprise to see that both teams were looking to attack and get on the scoresheet early.

On this occasion, it would be the Wanderers who rebounded best from last week by claiming victory .

After each side battled for supremacy through the opening stanza, Thomas Aquilina gave the home side the lead midway through the first half with a well taken strike from outside the area.

Spartans went tooth and nail with their opponents and had Christian Torelli to thank for snatching an equaliser, and momentum, on the stroke of half-time.

Despite carrying the momentum, Spartans were unable to get themselves going again in the second half. A quick fire brace from Marley Peterson just after play resumed gave the hosts a comfortable two goal advantage and they maintained their lead through the remainder of the match taking all three points.

St George City FA vs. Central Coast Mariners

After the torrential downfall that took place on Saturday evening, the match has been postponed.

-NPL 2 Chief Writer – Marcus Flottmann

Twitter – @MarcusFlottmann

Source FNSW website

Round 1 Review – NPL 2 NSW Women’s

National Premier League 2 NSW Womens Review – Round 1

Welcome back to the National Premier League 2 NSW Women’s competition!

The league returned with a bang, six cracking contests that played out across the sun-drenched fields in New South Wales. It was topped off by a wonderful Match of the Round between APIA Leichhardt Tigers vs Gladesville Ravens.

Match of the Round: APIA Leichhardt Tigers 1 defeated by Gladesville Ravens 2

Gladesville Ravens rounded off a fabulous first weekend of football, as they shocked APIA Leichhardt Tigers 2-1 in the first leg of the Tigers Festival of Football at Lambert Park Sunday afternoon.

Much was made of the Ravens ambitions this season, although Sunday put a big rubber stamp to that. Tenacious in their defence, they took their chances well. Amelia Vitek opened the scoring in the fourth before Emily Diaz volleyed her way home, the winner in the 64th as they stunned one of the Premiership favourites.

Regarding APIA, it was a disjointed performance. Their lone goal came from Kerrie Ryan from the spot in the sixth minute, but their usual fluid football was disrupted by the Ravens. Coach Matthew Constantini remained calm though, as Premierships aren’t decided in the first week.

Gladesville quickly turned their good fortune into a goal. Amelia Vitek provided the pressure for the APIA goalkeeper, with Courtney Halpin forcing her into a turnover which the Ravens attacker duly put into the net. 1-nil to the Ravens.

Some of the best qualities of a champion team is their ability to dust themselves off. APIA did so when they were awarded a spot kick in the sixth minute. Kerrie Ryan stepped up, nestled the ball in the left corner, 1-1 and the game was deadlocked again.

Looking to take back the reigns, APIA almost crafted a precise offside trap from a free-kick. The ball looped over for Bridges to attack, but the striker had gone a step early and was judged offside.

Again, Bridges was involved in APIA’s best work. She was played through with a wonderful through ball, weighed up the options before squaring to Chidgey, the striker offloaded it before the stout Ravens defense cleared.

For much of last season, Emily Diaz was the Ravens best attacking outlet. In a tense contest, she showed why as the attacker turned smartly to create space before she unleashed a shot that whistled wide of the post.

Late in the half, as the chances dried up in the heat. APIA had a chance from a wicked shot from Bridges but the inventive back heel was saved easily. For Gladesville, Kasia Wojtowicz glanced a header wide as the game remained 1-1 at half-time.

The second half of the match took time to get going, as the best chance fell to Ravens goalscorer Vitek, whose powerful shot was saved by the knees of Halpin.

APIA again looked for the set piece to take the lead. Another lofted free-kick saw both Chidgey and Bridges attack the ball. It fell kindly to the latter, who lashed home before the raised flag curtailed the Tigers celebrations.

On a day designed for grit rather than glamour, Emily Diaz snatched the lead for the Ravens. She bullocked her way past a pair of APIA defenders, before she flicked the ball past Halpin, making it 2-1 to a joyous Gladesville bench.

Constantini wrung the changes to find a route back into the contest. APIA’s best chance came from a transition. Jessica Fallah started it with an energetic run down the wing, curved it to Garard who linked with Chidgey before her cross was nodded wide by Rebecca Watt.

Chidgey featured again in the 79th minute. She poked the ball past Ravens shot stopper Eri Arikawa, but a lunging block from the retreated defense kept her effort out. Late on, Nicole Carmichael flashed a header wide as a frustrated afternoon for APIA ended in defeat.

Afterwards a jubilant Albert Disciascio in the Ravens dugout saw this victory as a key marker in how Ravens can progress this season.

“Every club wants to start the season on the right note. We showed today, we can match it with the big guns of this competition. Now, we know what we’re capable of and can take that into the rest of the season.”

Conversely, APIA coach Matthew Constantini was disappointed in the loss, but remained reserved in taking too much out of the result, especially in round one.

“It was frustrating. We didn’t execute our game plan how we wanted, and we rolled out the red carpet for their two goals. I think we were a bit off today, credit to them.”

“I think it’s a credit to our status as a competition heavyweight to see them celebrating the win like a Grand Final. Competitions aren’t won in the first week though, so we’ll dust ourselves off for next week.”

Match Stats

Sunday 10th March 2019

Lambert Park

Referee: N. Backo

Assistant Referees: J. Park & N. Kow

APIA Leichhardt Tigers 1 (Ryan ‘6)

Gladesville Ravens 2 (Vitek ‘4, Diaz ‘64)

APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 1. HALPIN Courtney, 2. BENNETT Jennifer, 4. BOSNICH Lara (13. URQUHART ‘68), 6. GILFEDDER Lucy, 7. CANINI Carla (15. CARMICHAEL ‘77), 8. CHIDGEY Cassidy, 9. GARARD Logan, 11. PALOMBI Ashleigh, 17. RYAN Kerrie, 18. FALLAH Jessica, 24. BRIDGES Georgia (14. WATTS ‘63)

Unused subs: 5. CICCO Olivia, 40. GRIMBILOS Stephanie

Yellow cards: Palombi

Red cards: nil

Gladesville Ravens: 1. ARIKAWA Eri, 2. TAYLOR Eloise, 3. SMITH Ashleigh, 4. LIDBETTER Eleanor, 5. FISHER Alanna (23. GESTIER ‘60), 6. IKONOMOU Carlie (14. KINCHINGTON ‘80), 7. DIAZ Emily, 8. ZACZEK Zoe, 9. SCHIRALDI Annalise (10. KASHIMA ‘20), 11. WOJTOWICZ Kasia (28. MOORE ‘70), 13. VITEK Amelia (12. DONALDSON ‘60)

Unused subs: none

Yellow cards: Ikonomou

Red cards: nil

Central Coast Mariners 3 defeated Western NSW Mariners 0

In the first Mariners derby of the season, Central Coast were victorious as they blitzed Western NSW Mariners 3-nil in picturesque conditions out at Pluim Park today.

Missing a few of their key starters, youngster Indianna Auddino brought the house down with her sublime hat-trick. She opened the scoring on starting debut in the 18th minute with calm finish then doubled the dose before half-time to send the home side into the sheds up 2-nil.

Auddino completed her hat-trick in the 47th minute to give the yellow-and-navy bragging rights over their sister club. Speaking afterwards coach Dan Barrett praised the young teams effort despite missing their big guns, and banked their first three points of the season.

Nepean FC 3 defeated St George FC 1

A confident and composed Nepean FC dispatched St George FC 3-1 at Cook Park, as their proclamation to move into the top three got the side off to a fantastic start.

In a game that was affected by the warm conditions in Sydney, Nepean FC weren’t at their fluid best but did enough to secure the victory. Stefanie Trovato got her season running with a well-taken goal in the first half.

Britney Pelle and Alix Waddell both added goals in a game where Nepean coach Alan Tasses admitted their combinations took time to come together. “I’m proud of the girls effort in the heat and our two signings [Dimitie Whiteman and Lauren Gaul] had good debut showings.”

For St George FC, Yadira Renfigo swept home a goal as the Saints get their season off in a losing fashion, but they have their home opener next weekend to repent against Central Coast Mariners.

Marconi Stallions 1 defeated by Sutherland Shire FA 7

Sutherland Shire FA reintroduced themselves in style, demolishing Marconi Stallions 7-1 on Sunday afternoon at Marconi Stadium in warm conditions.

The visitors edged the first half, they scored twice through x and y which saw them through to the break with a 2-1 advantage.

Chomping at the bit to get back into the top division, Sutherland Shire FA piled on five goals in the second half through x, y and z as they take pole position in the nascent NPL2 NSW Womens table after one weekend.

Stallions captain Hannah Voloder scored the only goal for the Stallions in the first half, clawing one back to send it to the break, 2-1 on a downbeat afternoon for the home side.

Southern Branch FC 0 defeated by SD Raiders FC 4

It was a long but fruitful trip to Nowra for SD Raiders FC, they triumphed 4-nil over Southern Branch FC at South Nowra Football Complex on a bright Sunday afternoon.

Tara Baudana got the only goal in a cagey first-half which sent SD Raiders into the break ahead. It was one-way traffic in the second half, as the visitors piled on three goals to take the three points back up the highway.

Those efforts came from Morgan Sherman, who struck twice then a strike from Hannah-Rose Davey rounded off the scoring. SD Raiders aim to better their semi-final finish to 2018. With the wind in their sails, the side will look to continue their winning streak with their home opener to come next week.

Inter Lions 0 defeated by UNSW FC 2

The Students aced their first assignment as they dealt Inter Lions a 2-nil defeat on Sunday afternoon at Valentine Sports Park, in heated conditions.

Goals to captain Hayley Marshall and Alexandra O’Rourke were enough to give UNSW FC all three points. The result sees the Students open up consecutive seasons with Round 1 victories as Alex Nolan’s charges chase a top five finish this season.

Nolan was buoyed by the result: “We dominated the possession and chances, controlling the contest on what were tough conditions today. It was very hot out there and the girls survived it well and got the result they deserved.”

By Justin Davies (@JustDavies90)

Source FNSW website

Round 2 Review – NPL 2 NSW Men’s

Round 2 of The National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s provided yet another weekend of highly competitive and entertaining football.

A few surprising scorelines to throw in the mix and perhaps some trends beginning to show their face.

There is never a dull moment in this competition and some teams learned you’ve got to be in it beyond the ninety minutes to win it.

Match of the Round:

The glum and grey sky transformed into a brilliant evening glow as the match that played out from Valentine Sports Park had entertainment written from cover to cover.

Berries came into the fixture looking to halt the goals from last week yet in the space of twenty minutes they had been torn apart by a Spirit side looking sharp early on in the competition.

From the outset Spirit took control of the game with their confidence in possession being displayed all across the park. The visitors heated up and got themselves on the score sheet before even ten minutes had hit the clock. Catching the Berries out, they won the ball back and countered towards goal, cutting back for a shot which ricocheted off bodies and the referee spotting the infringement of an arm, awarded a penalty.

The tall figure of Duncan Stewart, off two steps banged the ball into the bottom corner to set himself up on scoring spree for the night.

Minutes later he was wheeling away again in celebration, as a Spirit caught Berries out again. A delightful ball in behind set up Louis Bozanic, who squared the ball for Duncan Stewart, this time cleverly sliding it under the keeper.

Berries were setting themselves up to take down the two goal deficit from the restart but yet again Spirit kept on coming and found their third. A well-constructed team goal, Spirit recycled possession before firing up the right wing. Intuitive interplay at work, and Louis Bozanic was in on goal who fired a clinical finish across the face, into the far post and nestling in the net.

Three goals for the visitors in what seemed the snap of fingers.

It was going to take some brilliance to get back into the match for the Berries and they continued to search for a way back into the match, breaking down the right wing on several occasions raising the confidence of the home side.

Despite already having three goals past him, Berries keeper Enol Ordonez Suarez was doing everything he could to keep his side in the match and made a fantastic one-on-one save to deny Duncan Stewart from claiming his third.

His save seemed to be a foretelling of promise for the Berries as they were awarded a penalty minutes later. However, Spirit keeper Tomi Romic made a fantastic save diving low and forcing the ball out.

Yet what seemed to be a chance gone begging, turned into a glimpse of hope. The resulting corner for Berries was executed brilliantly, deep into the box, heading back across goal for Gino Cerasoli, who snuck in behind the defence to nod home.

Spirit, who had been playing with a level of comfort now faced a re-energised Berries. Their sole goal however, would not slow down the visitors and they would seemingly put the game to bed just before half time with a bang.

Duncan Stewart was on the end of another precise ball in behind and in one-on-one. In what seemed to be slow motion he lined up and thumped home a volley in empathic fashion.

The game began to play out end to end in the second half as Berries fought to find a way through and despite already having the lead, Spirit chased more goals.

Berries had to come up with something and it looked as though the towering figure of Scott Millar coming off the bench was the solution. The tall timber made an immediate menace of himself in the Spirit box, going achingly close to clawing one back for the Berries, but his header drifted just wide of the post.

The signs of something brewing were still in the air for Berries and they again had keeper Enol Ordonez Suarez to thank for providing the save of the night to keep some hope alive. At full stretch he dove for a curling shot, getting a strong palm to knock the ball away.

End to end the match continued with both sides creating chances yet leaving too many begging.

Eventually Spirit sealed the deal with less than twenty minutes to play. Again exploiting space out wide, the ball was sprayed across the park to switch the ball then into the pat of substitute Travis Cooper, who dropped a shoulder turning inside firing his shot low and taking a deflection into the net.

Another three points for Spirit who have set an early pace and tone for the rest of the league, claiming top spot on the ladder.

Match Stats:

Saturday 9th Match 2019, Valentine Sports Park

Canterbury Bankstown Berries 1 (G. Cerasoli)

GHFA Spirit FC 5 (D. Stewart x 3, L. Bozanic, T. Cooper)

Canterbury Bankstown Berries: C. Andricopoulos, N. Andricopoulos, R. Blakeley, J. Bradshaw, G. Cerasoli, A. D’Mello, D. Dias, S. Drewery, J. Hronopoulos, L. Mailey, D. McMurray, S. Millar, J. Nicolaou, T. Saikawa, A. Sopina, E. Ordonez Suarez

GHFA Spirit FC: C. Arditti, L. Beumie, L. Bozanic, P. Cappuccio, T. Cooper, G. Cornwell, S. De Oliveira, J. Forster, D. Furness, J. Harris, D. Johns, F. Kondo, E. Manos, A. Robertson, D. Stewart, T. Romic

Hills United 4 vs. Bonnyrigg White Eagles 2

Bonnyrigg, playing visitor once again, seemed to have an aura of dominance in possession yet will be ruing they could not make more of their control with the ball. The side still working their way into the competition have no need to be worried yet but are still in search of three points to get themselves running.

It was a high intensity fixture played out between the two sides and fans were treated to another goal scoring spectacle.

A double from Nathan Rayner and goals from Glen Kelshaw and Daniel Fogarty all but cancelled out Ray Miller’s brace.

Macarthur Rams 1 vs. Blacktown Spartans 0

The Rams have opened their account for 2019, claiming three points in the dying embers of the match thanks to man of the moment Sam Onana Awono who gave Claudio Canosa his first victory of the 2019 season.

Despite the scoreline, it was another hard fought and good spirited fixture between the sides with each creating their chances and threatening the goal.

On another day the fans attending could have witness yet another goal scoring spectacle.

Macarthur holding on until the last, and catching Spartans in transition. The home side bagging the winner in injury time and with it, a lift off the bottom of the ladder.

Northern Tigers 2 vs. St George FC 1

Another tense battle between the sides played out at North Turramurra, with the hosts claiming first honours of the year with a last ditch effort.

Throughout the first half, both sides built up chances on the back of periods of possession however, neither really able to find their mark.

It was on the stroke of halftime that the deadlock was broken as Tigers put away a penalty, giving them a slender lead heading into the second period.

As tense contests often go, the match began to open up and the Saints would get themselves back into the match, pinching one back midway through the second half.

Another arm wrestle between the sides and as the clock ticked down it seemed the match would be locked at one a-piece.

At a dangerous time, in a dangerous place the Saints gave away a free kick. It would prove their undoing as the Tigers whipped in and got their goal with nothing to spare on the clock.

Mounties Wanderers 2 vs. North Shore Mariners 6

What is going on at Mounties?

The side, that on paper had words flying around the league, seemingly capitulated as North Shore ran riot on their way to three points.

Joshua Mbakwe was the star of the show for the Mariners bagging a hat-trick while a brace from Marquin Smith and a goal from Sean Eve sent the visitors into raptures.

Rydalmere Lions 3 vs. St George City FA 1

Straight out from the blocks, the Lions were on the attack and just like last week bagged the opening goal and early too.

The home side kept up a high intensity yet the visitors responded in kind by holding their hosts at bay. Despite being newcomers in the league, City, through their experienced players mixed with young quality found their rhythm and managed to get themselves back into the match midway through the first half by levelling up the tie.

As the sides butted heads and seemed to be locked even at the half, the Lions popped up and bagged another, giving them the mental edge heading into the sheds.

A return to the fray and the match continued in competitive fashion swaying from one side to another with City aiming to level it up then take it all themselves.

Alas, it would not be as the Lions had Mitchell Gibbs to thank, midway through the second half sealing the deal with a wonder strike to add to his first half goal. Once again edging his team toward victory and his name in highlights.

Central Coast Mariners 2 vs. Western Sydney Wanderers 1

After the tough A-League result against the Wellington Phoenix on Saturday evening , the youngsters in Yellow and Navy earned some redemption for the club, knocking off the Wanderers late in their encounter.

A typical intense and competitive affair between the sides that heated up on the field with players giving it their all to claim the victory.

The hosts who had controlled the majority of the first half, earned themselves momentum by breaking the deadlock just before the half to put pressure on the Wanderers.

Not wanting the hoodoo at the coast to continue, the Wanderers returned to the field with purpose and wrote off the first goal within five minutes and then went in search for a winner. The lads in Red and Black took it to the Mariners and were looking the more dominant side.

Despite both sides creating chances the hot Sunday afternoon began to take a toll on the players. The Wanderers losing a player to injury with no substitutions remaining were forced to battle it out for the last ten minutes.

It would be their undoing as the Mariners claimed the winner from a corner in injury time, sending the Wanderers back home once again without a victory on the coast.

-By NPL 2 Chief Writer – Marcus Flottmann

Source FNSW website