Only one game survived the wild weather this weekend, with APIA Leichhardt claiming a superb victory against St. George, showing great persistence to overcome an early deficit.
MATCH OF THE ROUND
St. George vs. APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 1-3
The sun was shining down on St. George Soccer Stadium, as the Saints lined up against a determined APIA Leichhardt outfit.
The first major opportunity came in the ninth minute, by way of St. George. A sharp through ball found Georgia Koinis outside of the goal box, who cut inside her marker before launching a powerful shot towards the top left corner. It was saved superbly by APIA Leichhardt goalkeeper, Courtney Halpin
The home side continued to apply pressure and were rewarded with a goal in the fifteenth minute. Koinis threaded Rachelle Wang through into the box, who calmly slot the ball past the outcoming Tigers keeper.
But the response was immediate from APIA Leichhardt, who equalised in similar fashion only a minute later. A devastatingly incisive pass from Filiz Urkanci found Brianna-Lee Wade on the edge of the box. Wade looked up and placed a well finessed shot across the goal into the back of the net.
St. George threatened an equally quick reply, as the game began to open up dramatically. Kate Emanuel powered a long shot towards the top right corner, which was saved acrobatically by a diving Courtney Halpin.
The resulting corner led to absolute mayhem in the box, with the Tigers unable to clear again and again. Eventually, Halpin was forced into another alert save to relieve the pressure, tipping the ball over the top of the goal.
Moments later, Koinis weaved her way into the box, outpacing two defenders before shooting, but her attempt on goal was blocked by an outstretched leg.
St. George continued to threaten for the rest of the first half, but were held at bay by some resilient defending and the commanding presence of Courtney Halpin in goal.
Nevertheless, it was APIA Leichhardt who had the best opportunity to steal a late lead before half time. A superb lofted ball found Urkanci beyond the Saints’ back four. Urkanci rounded the goalkeeper, but fired her shot over the empty goal.
The half-time break did not put a damper on the pace of the game, with St. George coming close to scoring moments after the recommencement of play. The ever dangerous George Koinis wriggled past a couple of defenders before firing at goal. Again, her shot was saved athletically by Halpin.
Over the next twenty minutes, both sides had their chances but none were taken effectively. St. George appeared to become more frustrated, as their relative dominance of play was well marshalled by the APIA back four.
As so often happens in football, it was the team with their backs to the ropes who eventually took the lead, digging deep. In the sixty ninth minute, a beautiful curving shot from APIA’s Urkanci, who found space after a quick counter, graced its way into the top right corner. Urkanci fell to the ground in celebration, perhaps unbelieving of her effort, and was quickly joined by her delighted team mates.
St. George’s heads visibly dropped, and their frustration was punished for a second time just a minute later. Urkanci was again the hero, finding herself in the box with not a defender in sight, and smashing home. In the blink of an eye, the Tigers took a 3-1 lead against the run of play.
Disheartened, St. George would have a lot to do to rescue even a point from a fixture they had plans of winning. Their disappointment was in clear contrast to the Tigers, who had a newfound spring in their step. A comeback never quite felt on the cards, and never eventuated.
The full time whistle blew, sealing a well-earned victory for the APIA Leichhardt Tigers. While Urkanci had been the heroine in front of the goal, it was goalkeeper Courtney Halpin’s efforts which had undoubtedly made the decisive difference.
St. George FC 1 (Rachelle Wang 15’)
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 3 (Brianna-Lee Wade 16’, Filiz Urkanci 69’ / 70)
Sunday, 19th of July, 2015
St. George Soccer Stadium, Banksia
St. George FC: 8. Jessica Carosi, 14. Naiara Carvalho-Vanzuita (5. Natalie Michos), 27. Kate Emanuel, 2. Susanne Gallagher, 3. Lauren Gardner, 9. Georgia Koinis, 33. Tijana Ljubisavljevic, 29. Kylie Manias, 26. Ashley Miller, 1. Selen Santoro, 35. Rachelle Wang (24. Elise Clifford 75’).
Substitutes Not Used: 32. Stephanie Lara, 25. R. Fitzsimmons
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 34. Sherel Alpkaya, 29. Olivia Cicco, 2. Stephanie Glanville-Fyfe, 1. Courtney Halpin, 11. Dione King, 14. Rhianna Muscat, 33. Marie Svinos, 19. Karen Thomson, 31. Filiz Urkanci, 3. Brianna-Lee Wade, 8. Julia Bonserio.
Substitutes Not Used: 9. Angela Frances, 13. Lucy Friend, 6. Madison Gray
Yellow Cards: 3. Brianna-Lee Wade 64’
Red Cards: N/A
Washed Out Matches:
Gladesville Ravens vs. Mt. Druitt Town Rangers FC
Parramatta FC vs. Southern Districts SFA
Bankstown City FC vs. Western NSW Mariners FC
Source FNSW Website-by Daniel Palmer, Women’s State League Reporter