This weekend saw the State League ladder tighten as the race for position continued highlighted by the match of the round between Gladesville and Mt Druitt.
MATCH OF THE ROUND: Gladesville Ravens 4 defeated Mt Druitt Town Rangers 3
Gladesville Ravens closed the gap to the top four after a frantic 4-3 victory over a gutsy Mt Druitt Town Rangers.
The contest took a while to settle down as both the Ravens and Town Rangers tried to get a hold of the midfield in the opening fifteen minutes.
Gladesville Ravens had the first chance of the contest as Stephanie Holmes burst into the box and flashed an effort across the face of the box.
Noelle Loyzaga was the destroyer last week with bag of goals but provided the assist in the 17th minute for the opening goal. She whipped in a good cross that evaded everyone and allowed Isabella Breukelaar to fire home for 1-0.
Following their goal – Gladesville continued to push forward as Eleanor Jones went close with her free-kick attempt and their front three pressed the Mt Druitt back four.
Mt Druitt registered their first effort on the half hour mark when Lisa Fressard breezed past her defender into the box but only put the shot right at Deniz Yuzguc.
As the match moved closer to half-time, Gladesville doubled their lead with an ambitious effort from striker Jones. She gathered the ball just over halfway and chipped the effort past the keeper for a 2-nil halftime lead.
In recent weeks – John Cook has lamented his Ravens switching off right after the break which Mt Druitt took advantage to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
Nubia Lopez was posed a constant threat behind the home defense and after a fruitless first 45 broke through cleanly in the 52nd minute to arrow her effort home.
Loyzaga was on the spot once again to restore the Ravens lead after she weaved through the Mt Druitt defense and finished well to make it 3-1.
The old saying goes you are vulnerable right after scoring and Mt Druitt hit right back. A foul inside the Ravens half gave Fressard enough room to smash her free-kick against the crossbar and over the line for 3-2.
Sensing a possible first point of the season – Mt Druitt pressed forward and forced the home side into errors which brought John Cook right to the touchline.
The Ravens coach was fuming after Lopez once again broke past the defense, rounded Yuzguc and sent the Town Rangers bench into celebration.
In a game full of twists and turns – the contest took one final wicked turn. Breukelaar was in the right place to finish a spectulative cross in the 84th minute to secure all three points.
"We knew we had to match their [Mt Druitt]'s effort and intensity if we wanted a result today. Overall we targetted six points from the past two weeks to be in a good place headed to Mudgee and we've done that" said Ravens coach John Cook.
He also added that his side need to work on switching off just after the break"as it has happened in the last two games and brings teams right back into the game." Finished Cook.
For Danny Abboud this season is all about learning.
"The girls are gutted after that [4-3 loss] but this is a learning experience. We've learnt a lot after today and it is back to the drawing board."
"The focus is to win which is great but we're building, improving every week to mesh as a team instead of two different squads." Added Abboud.
Gladesville Ravens 4 (Breukelaar '20 and '84, Jones '42 and Loyzaga '64)
YUZGUC Deniz, VANSAARLOOS Paige, BUTT Giorgia, HOLMES Stephanie(BIANCHINO '29), GESTIER Hannah, BEATTIE Alex, BREUKELAAR Isabella, LOYZAGA Noelle, JONES Eleanor(DUGGAN '74), OSMOND Peta(PEDDLEY '84) and SMITH Ashleigh
Subs not used: EVANS
Mt Druitt Town Rangers 3 (Lopez '52 and '78, Fressard '65)
GEMMEL Carley, MURRAY Melanie, CONROY Brooke(LAWLESS '45(WEGRZYN '89)), LOPEZ Nubia, FISCHER Cheyanne, FRESSARD Lisa, VACCARI Natasha, FRASER Olivia(BACHA '72), STRICEK Jessica, TALBOT Toni-Rae and MARTIN Melinda
Yellow card: REA
Parramatta FC 0 defeated by UNSW Lions 7
UNSW Lions continued their recent run of form to take sole possession of second with a clinical 7-nil victory.
Following an early scare the UNSW Lions side settled into the contest and shot into a three goal lead at half-time.
They were relentless in the second half to bolster their goal difference to +16 thanks primarily to a Georgia Goulding hat-trick. Rachelle Godman and Helen Orr added braces to complete the scoring.
Afterwards Lions coach Renato Jalen was impressed that "once they took hold of the game, they kept going going"
Western NSW Mariners FC 1 drew with SD Raiders 1
It was a real arm wrestle in Bathurst between first and third where both teams had to settle for a point.
SD Raiders fresh from their 8-nil win in midweek took the contest to the hosts and scored through the unlikely Sarah Bittner.
Western NSW Mariners levelled things up through Katie Pakai-Kelly and held the Raiders at bay for the remainder of the contest.
Afterwards SD Raiders coach Catherine Cannuli was disappointed to "not pick up all three points" from their trip west.
St George FC 1 drew with APIA Leichhardt Tigers 1
Once again APIA Leichhardt dominated a contest but weren't able to collect all three points thanks to some late heroics from the Saints.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers created most of the chances in the opening half but the game remained deadlocked 0-0.
Dana Buttigieg signaled her APIA return with a strike early in the second half to make it 1-nil. Once again the Tigerswere left frustrated as St George's Renee Mansour scored an 86th minute equaliser to share the points.
Tigers coach Matteo Maiorana was frustrated that his side "created so many clear cut chances but don't take them whilst the opposition are clinical with theirs. He added it is "something they need to rectify against SD Raiders."
Source FNSW Justin Davies, State League Women's reporter