Round 20 of the Women’s State League saw the Gladesville Ravens cement their place in the Finals, with an incredible victory over the Western NSW Mariners FC.
In the Match of the Round, Bankstown City FC moved within a point of the league leaders after narrowly defeating the APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
Match of the Round - Bankstown City FC vs. APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 2-1
An overcast sky loomed over Jensen Park this Sunday, as Bankstown City FC hosted the APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
The home side did not waste anytime, with Bankstown’s Samantha Muscat scoring in only the second minute. Picking up the ball outside of the box, the powerful striker mazed her way through the Tigers’ defence before coolly finishing.
Bankstown were happy to sit deep against the visitors, waiting for their opposition to make a mistake before launching a quick counter attack. This proved particularly effective for the first half an hour, with Bankstown creating one opportunity after another.
In the seventh minute, Muscat almost duplicated her first goal. Dribbling into the box dangerously, she was denied by outcoming APIA goalkeeper, Courtney Halpin, who claimed the ball strongly from the striker’s feet.
Moments later, Melissah Parlato fired at goal from outside of the box, forcing Halpin to dive to her left and push the ball behind for a corner.
In the sixteenth minute, Halpin again kept APIA Leichhardt in the game with some spectacular work between the sticks. Running on goal, Samantha Muscat found herself with only the keeper to beat, but Halpin made herself big and blocked the shot. The ball rebounded to Maniso Micheals outside of the box, who lobbed the ball at goal, saved by an aerobatic lunge from Halpin.
Ten minutes later, Bankstown thought they had finally found a second goal, when Micheals finished off a crossed in freekick from Kristen McMahon. The linesman had his flag up for offside, to the relief of the Tigers defence.
APIA Leichhardt struggled to compete in midfield, leaving their front three fairly isolated. Star recruit Uzunlar, as well as Dione King looked very dangerous on occasion, though lacked support.
Thirty minutes into the half, the visitors turned things around for a brief period; their midfield calmed down, took their time and held the ball more effectively. This allowed the Tigers to launch a five minute period of attack on the Bankstown goal, held out by solid defending.
Almost cruelly, however, the lasting result of this period of dominance from APIA Leichhardt would be Bankstown City’s second goal. In the thirty fifth minute, Tania Baban received the ball outside of the box, at the end of a Bankstown counter-attack, and toe-poked it powerfully into the top left corner, evading a diving Courtney Halpin.
This goal seemed to fire Uzunlar up for APIA Leichhardt, and the dynamic midfielder came close to a spectacular equaliser only seconds later. Bursting down the right flank, she skipped past two defenders before launching a shot towards the far post, sailing agonizingly high.
The heavens opened up for the second half, and with rain getting steadily heavier, play was certainly affected. Neither side was able to assert dominance in midfield, and the game became exceedingly end-to-end.
APIA Leichhardt were determined to find a way back into the competition, and were rewarded for their efforts in the fifty fourth minute.
Filiz Urkanci played through Dione King down the left wing, who cut the ball back to half-time substitute, Lucy Gilfedder at the back post. Gilfedder made no mistake in converting, and the Tigers were suddenly back in contention.
With frustration growing in their search for an equaliser, the Tigers moved to three at the back - only exasperating the open nature of the game. It was a risk they had to take, with a loss simply not good enough.
APIA’s efforts to play more attacking football did not come to fruition, with Bankstown coming close to scoring twice as the game petered to an end.
In the sixty fifth minute, Melissah Parlato curled a shot from outside of the box towards the top right corner, denied by a spectacular diving save from Courtney Halpin.
In the eighty fifth minute, Jessica Burgess was played through with only the keeper to beat, but her powerful shot rattled off the upright.
The game ended amidst the pouring rain, with Bankstown City FC emerging as somewhat unconvincing 2-1 victors. Nevertheless, they will be delighted with the result having played and beaten the Western NSW Mariners the day before.
This loss, due to other results in the round, means that APIA Leichhardt are now out of Finals contention.
Bankstown City FC 2 (Samantha Muscat 2’, Tania Baban 35’)
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 1 (Lucy Gilfedder 54’)
Sunday, 23rd of August, 2015
Jensen Park, Regent’s Park
Bankstown City FC: 17. Tania Baban (9. Jami-Lee Mussett 83’), 4. Liana Babic, 3. Rosie Bacon, 12. Lauren Danaskos, 1. Lana Ferreira, 40. Kristen McMahon (38. Rachel Cassar 75’), 10. Maniso Micheal, 21. Samantha Muscat, 7. Melissah Parlato (26. Jessica Burgess 72’), 13. Marie Sim-Sing, 6. Allegra Vickas.
Substitutes Not Used: 39. Maddi Finch, 30. Georgia Sanchez.
Yellow Cards: 6. Allegra Vickas
Red Cards: N/A
APIA Leichhardt Tigers: 34. Sherel Alpkaya, 30. Carla Canini (10. F. Lombardo 80’), 29. Olivia Cicco, 2. Stephanie Glanville-Fyfe, 1. Courtney Halpin, 33. Marie Svinos (5. Lucy Gilfedder HT), 19. Karen Thomson (9. Angela Bishop), 32. Filiz Urkanci, 40. Yesim Uzunlar, 3. Brianna-Lee Wade, 11. Dione King (14. R. Muscat 61’).
Substitutes Not Used: N/A
Yellow Cards: N/A
Red Cards: N/A
Western NSW Mariners FC vs. Gladesville Ravens: 0-2
It’s been a less than desirable weekend for the Western NSW Mariners FC. Compensating for rained out fixtures, the league leaders had to play two games this weekend, both of which they lost to likely Finals competition.
On Saturday, they were beaten 2-1 by second placed Bankstown City, where a win could have sealed them the Premiership. In their Round 20 fixture against the Gladesville Ravens on Sunday, they fell 2-0. Now Bankstown City sit only a point behind them, and threaten a dramatic late Premiership.
The Ravens have been the success story of the second half of the season, and their incredible form has only extended itself over the weekend. Despite a forgettable 0-0 draw against Mt. Druitt on Friday, their victory against the Mariners has qualified them for the Finals and demonstrated their ability to compete against the very best.
St. George FC vs. Southern Districts SFA: 6-1
St. George have secured a third placed finish with a resounding 6-1 victory against Southern Districts this Sunday. In the position they have occupied for most of the season, the Saints can no longer go ahead of Bankstown or below Gladesville.
With their future settled, they will be happy to have scored freely despite the absence of Georgia Koinis and Rachelle Wang, thanks to a hat trick from Marissa Nicopoulos, a brace from Lily Chen and a goal from Lauren Gardner.
Southern Districts can do nothing more than “go again”, with two more matches left before the end of what has been a difficult season.
Mt. Druitt Town Rangers FC vs. Parramatta FC: 3-2
In an exciting clash out in the west of Sydney, the Mt. Druitt Town Rangers FC edged Parramatta FC thanks to goals from Kristy Hope, Jazz Lundt and Brooke Conroy.
Mt. Druitt will be pleased with their attacking performance, particularly having had to play the Gladesville Ravens just two days prior. Parramatta will also be content with their efforts, proving strong competition where they’ve failed in recent weeks.
However, due to other Round 20 results, unfortunately neither Mt. Druitt or Parramatta can make the Finals this year.
Source FNSW Website -by Daniel Palmer, Women’s State League Reporter