Round 18 of the Women’s State League saw some major results affecting the midtable battle for a spot in the Finals Series. In our Match of the Round, the Gladesville Ravens claimed an important victory over the APIA Leichhardt Tigers, pushing them in to the top four.
Match of the Round - APIA Leichhardt Tigers vs. Gladesville Ravens: 1-2
A chilly Lambert Park played host to the APIA Leichhardt Tigers and Gladesville Ravens, with a vital three points on the line.
The opening fifteen minutes was evenly contested, with both sides struggling to find their top gear in the cold.
The first major opportunity came by way of Feliz Urkanci for APIA Leichhardt. The dynamic midfielder was played through superbly by Angela Francis, but lacked the pace to beat Ravens centreback Paige Vansaarloos.
Instead, Urkanci cut the ball back behind Vansaarloos and launched a well-placed shot from distance, which crashed off the upright before being caught gratefully by Ravens goalkeeper Lauren Scaramuzza.
APIA almost opened the scoring shortly after, when a direct freekick down the middle of the field was latched on to by Brianna-Lee Wade, showing incredible pace to burst free of her markers. Scaramuzza was quick off the line, and put Wade off her shot just enough to prevent a goal.
Moments later, Leichhardt continued to threaten, with Dione King turning her defender sharply before launching a powerful left-footed shot across the goal. Scaramuzza was up to the challenge, diving to her left to pull off another impressive save.
Ravens were not without their chances throughout this period, with Noelle Loyzaga and Amanda Holmes, in particular, causing issues for the Tigers’ defence. They appeared a little less composed in the final third, often resorting to speculative long shots as they settled into the game.
Their first major chance of the first half came in the fortieth minute, where a beautifully lofted freekick from Vansaarloos found Noelle Loyzaga in the box. Loyzaga couldn’t wriggle her shot past the outcoming Courtney Halpin.
Moments later, the Ravens’ crossbar was again brought into action, found by another well-finessed shot from outside the box by Olivia Cicco.
This seemed to kick Gladesville into action and they visibly lifted. Celeste Loyzaga took the ball forward powerfully from halfway before unleashing an effort with venom, forcing an acrobatic diving save from Courtney Halpin.
And then, on the cusp of half-time, Gladesville took the lead in spectacular style. Receiving the ball on the left wing, Eleonor Jones looked up before firing a magnificently flighted shot towards the far right corner of the APIA Leichhardt goal, evading a diving Halpin.
APIA Leichhardt begun the second half brightly, and almost found an equaliser within the first couple of minutes. Cicco missed a one on one with Lauren Scaramuzza, perhaps a victim of too much time. A corner shortly later resulted in a goalbox scramble, where the Tigers seemed certain to score if not for some desperate defending.
In the fifty fifth minute, the Ravens found a vital second goal to settle their nerves. Peta Osmond slotted a perfectly weighted ball through to Noelle Loyzaga, who confidently burst into the box and finished with composure.
APIA Leichhardt did not give up, and came close to finding a way back into the game on multiple occasions over the next ten minutes.
In the fifty eighth, Dione King cut in and out of her centre back before unleashing a powerful drive from the edge of the box, tipped over the crossbar by Scaramuzza. In the sixty seventh, Urkanci sent a huge opportunity from inside the box whizzing over the goal.
Gladesville played primarily on the counter, and were very effective in using Amanda Holmes’ pace down the right wing, cutting the ball across goal towards Eleonor Jones at the backpost.
With both teams unable to add to the scoreline, APIA Leichhardt adjusted to a back three during the seventieth minute. Their tactical manoeuvre had a spanner thrown into the works almost immediately, when Sherel Alpkaya was given two yellows; the first for a challenge in the back of her marker, and the second for her reaction to that decision.
Bizarrely, the red card seemed to lift APIA Leichhardt’s game up a gear. Just three minutes later, the Tigers found their first goal of the game. The Ravens cleared a ball only as far as Rhianna Muscat, lurking outside of the goalbox, who volleyed it first time into the far corner.
Five minutes later, the Tigers continued their impressive turn around. With the Ravens defence enduring huge amounts of pressure, one of their defenders had her outstretched hand caught by the ball inside the penalty area.
Feliz Urkanci stepped up to take the penalty for APIA Leichhardt and drilled it straight down the middle, denied by an astute save from Lauren Scaramuzza. The ball smashed off her stomach and up into the crossbar before being cleared gratefully.
APIA’s heads seemed to drop after this, and Gladesville were fairly comfortable in seeing out the rest of the game. It was as tightly contested as expected, but the Ravens will be delighted to come away from Lambert Park with a well earned three points.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 1 (Rhianna Muscat 75’)
Gladesville Ravens 2 (Eleonor Jones 43’, Noelle Loyzaga 55’)
Sunday, 9th of August, 2015
Lambert Park, Leichhardt
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 14. Rhianna Muscat, 34. Sherel Alpkaya, 2. Stephanie Glanville-Fyfe, 13. Lucy Friend, 1. Courtney Halpin, 32. Feliz Urkanci, 11. Dione King, 9. Angela Francis, 29. Olivia Cicco, 6. Maddison Gray (16. Emma Mason 67’), 3. Brianna-Lee Wade.
Substitutes Not Used: 21. Anna Rushmer, 19. Karen Thomson, 33. Marie Svinos
Yellow Cards: 2. Stephanie Glanville-Fyfe 34’, Sherel Alpkaya 72’ / 72’
Red Cards: Sherel Alpkaya 72’
Gladesville Ravens: 16. Isabella Breukelaar, 8. Kate Butler-Howell, 23. Amanda Holmes, 20. Eleanor Jones, 3. Rebecca Kundrat, 18. Celeste Loyzaga, 17. Noelle Loyzaga (10. Daniella Fierro 82’), 24. Peta Osmond, 1. Lauren Scaramuzza, 29. Ashleigh Smith, 4. Paige Vansaarloos.
Substitutes Not Used:, 14. Madeleine Paslis, 22. Belinda Kayser, 12. Amy Clarke
Yellow Cards: 16. Isabella Breukelaar 30’
Red Cards: N/A
Bankstown City FC vs. Southern Districts SFA: 6-1
Bankstown City returned to winning form with a routine victory over Southern Districts. Braces each from Samantha Muscat and Melissah Parlato, as well as goals from Jessica Burgess and Allegra Vickas saw the Bankstown side build some momentum as we head towards the Finals Series.
Southern Districts found the back of the net through none other than Sheree Bryant, who continues her spectacular season. They will be disappointed, however, to have conceded so many; contrary to their positive performances in the past couple of rounds.
St. George FC vs. Parramatta FC: 2-1
St. George collected an expected three points against an out of form Parramatta FC side this Sunday, but it did not come as easily as they may have expected. Parramatta entered the round having shipped fifteen goals in their last two proper outings, but pushed the Saints to the very end in an impressive performance.
St. George will be determined to quickly move on from their performance, with victory being the most important outcome of the ninety minutes. They now command a ten point lead over the Gladesville Ravens behind them in fourth.
Western NSW Mariners FC vs. Mt. Druitt Town Rangers FC: 1-0
The Mariners continued their spectacular drive towards the Premiership, edging the Mt. Druitt Town Rangers by a solitary goal in Round 18. They lead second placed Bankstown by seven points, with a game in hand, and have now won their past eight rounds in a row. The three points came by way of a goal from Kate Henley-Sadgrove.
Mt. Druitt will be disappointed to have come away with nothing from Proctor Park, despite pushing the league leaders for all ninety minutes. They now slip out of the top four, but still remain well in reach. There were plenty of positives to take away from their performance.
Source FNSW Website-by Daniel Palmer, Women’s State League Reporter