A sunny New South Wales weekend saw a typically high-scoring Women’s State League progress on Mother’s Day, with the Western NSW Mariners establishing a strong lead on top of the table.
MATCH OF THE WEEK - Gladesville Ravens vs. St. George FC: 2-2
After numerous cancelled rounds at the hand of terrible weather, it was a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Gladesville to welcome back the Ravens and St. George to Women’s State League football.
From kick off, St. George looked more than determined to ruin the Raven’s perfect record, playing aggressive, direct football. On numerous occasions, their high press challenged the Ravens back four, who struggled to hold on. Georgia Koinis and Rachelle Wang for St. George broke through multiple times, but final decision making was lacking. They looked consistently dangerous on the counter attack with very quick forwards.
In the 20th minute, St. George finally were rewarded for their efforts. Koinis burst down the wing, out pacing three defenders, cut into the box and fired in a shot at the front post. The Ravens goalkeeper got a hand to it, but could only deflect it over her head into the net. It was a well deserved goal for St. George, who had been threatening something similar all game.
In the 27th minute, Koinis broke through once again, but over touched the ball into the hands of the Ravens’ keeper. The lead should have been doubled.
Unable to deal with the pace of Koinis, Wang and Nicopoulos, the Ravens were forced to make an early substitution, taking off centre back Rebecca Kundrat for Paige Vansaarloos in the 37th minute.
The Ravens found most of their luck through long balls, and almost found a goal after a long free kick from centre-half Ashleigh Smith allowed Kate Butler-Howell to break through on goal, but her shot skimmed the wrong side of the horizontal. The St. George counter attack then resulted in Rachelle Wang latching onto a cross from Koinis, but the Ravens goalkeeper made a great save.
However, just before half time, in the 41st minute, the Ravens found an equaliser. A marauding run and then shot from Noelle Loyzaga forced the St. George keeper into a brilliant reflex save, but the ball fell into the path of Eleanor Jones who headed it home from point blank.
This goal opened the game up, and both teams seemed rattled. The ball went from end to end, but neither side could leverage an advantage before half time.
It was a dream start for St. George in the second half, however. Immediately from kick off, the ever dangerous Georgia Koinis was played through on goal and smashed her shot under the out coming keeper; her pace again proving a massive headache for the Ravens.
Nevertheless, showing remarkable persistence, in the 53rd minute the Ravens found another equaliser. Jones played a speculative lobbed ball over St. George’s back four, with Amanda Holmes running on to it. Holmes showed impressive pace, narrowly beating the St. George goalkeeper to the ball, taking it past her and then slotting it home into the open net. Things seemed eerily similar to their round one clash against Mt. Druitt, where they overturned a two goal deficit.
St. George refused to give up, and forged chance after chance down the right wing through Rachelle Wang, who seemed to find even more energy as the game progressed. Ravens centre half Ashleigh Smith performed heroically to marshal her back four and keep her side on level footing. Natalie Cesarone for the Ravens combined well with Eleanor Jones throughout the second half to create the Ravens’ best opportunities. However, neither side was able to break the deadlock. The game finished at two goals apiece.
Gladesville Ravens 2 (Eleanor Jones 41’, Ashleigh Holmes 53’)
St. George FC 2 (Georgia Koinis 20’ / 46’)
Sunday, 10th of May, 2015
Peel Park, Gladesville
Gladesville Ravens : 3. Rebecca Kundrat (5. Paige Vansaarloos 37’), 14. Madeleine Paslis, 8. Kate Butler-Howell (24. Peta Osmond 69’), 9. Natalie Cesarone, 15. Pragya Goswami, 20. Eleanor Jones, 17. Celeste Loyzaga, 18. Noelle Loyzaga , 1. Lauren Scaramuzza, 29. Ashleigh Smith, 23. Amanda Holmes (10. Daniella Fierro).
Substitutes Not Used: 21. Heather Madgwick, 27. Hannah Taylor.
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
St George FC FC : 8. Jessica Carosi, 2. Susanne Gallagher, 3. Lauren Gardner, 9. Georgia Koinis, 32. Stephanie Lara, 33. Tijana Ljubisavljevic, 5. Natalie Michos, 36. Marissa Nicopoulos, 23. Rachelle Wang, 12. Bronte Young, 7. Amy Bennett.
Substitutes Not Used: 30. Serena Bomze, 91. Monica Bomza, 1. Selen Santoro, 11. Arnika Seed, 18. Mary Harding,
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Nil
Round 1 Summaries
Southern Districts SFA vs. APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 3-0
Both sides entered this fixture having yet to register a single point, but determined to leave with three. In the end, Southern Districts were able to finally register their first and well deserved win of the season, overcoming the Tigers 3-0. Bryant was the hero for Southern Districts, scoring two incredibly important goals. The Tigers now remain rooted to the bottom of the table, having lost all three of their fixtures without even scoring a goal.
Western NSW Mariners FC vs. Parramatta FC: 4-0
The Western NSW Mariners continued their seemingly unstoppable start to the season, sweeping aside Parramatta FC by four goals. It was always going to be a significant challenge for Parramatta, making their first visit to the Mariners’ home ground, and they were outclassed by a Mariners side who have now won four out of four games in 2015. Captain Meg Embleton continued her rich vein of form, scoring her second brace of the year. Collingridge and Salamoni also contributed to the scoresheet. Keeping another clean sheet, goalkeeper Jess Daymond and centre-half Meg Macfarland led a resolute Mariners defence.
Mt. Druitt Town Rangers FC vs. Bankstown City: 2-5
This game was destined to be high scoring, with two very attacking sides coming up against each other. Bankstown, however, were simply a class above their opposition and stormed home with a convincing victory. Though narrowly losing their opening round to the Mariners, after two thoroughly impressive performances in their following games, Bankstown look like very strong competitors this Women’s State League season.
Source FNSW Website -by Daniel Palmer, Women’s State League Reporter