Women’s State League round 16 saw APIA Leichhardt Tigers beat University of NSW 5-0 in the top-of-the-table clash, SD Raiders edge Western NSW Mariners 1-0 and Mount Druitt Town Rangers beat Parramatta FC 10-0.
It’s now peak hour on the points table as APIA (33) revved out in front to lead a bumper-to-bumper UNSW (25), Raiders (23), St George (22) and Mariners (19) – and five rounds remain to the finals.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers 5 (Rebecca Watts 2', Christy Ferreyra 34', Sarah Urquhart 38', Lucy Gilfedder 48' 68') University of NSW 0, Sunday 23rd July 7pm, Lambert Park
Defending premiers APIA Leichhardt Tigers dominated top-two rivals University of NSW 5-0 at Lambert Park to place a stranglehold on top spot, now eight points clear with five weekends to go.
Methodical goals made it 3-0 at halftime before a second-half Lucy Gilfedder double made it a cool 5-0 scoreline – Uni’s first loss since round three.
Tigers didn’t muck around and led in just the second minute through Rebecca Watts, Christy Ferreyra added the second on the half-hour (her 16th of winter to close to within three of Uni’s Yadira Rengifo on top of the scorer’s chart), and Sarah Urquhart slotted the third minutes later.
The home side maintained the second-half rage when Gilfedder bagged one moments after the restart and grabbed another (her 11th of the season) to make it 5-0 20 minutes from the end.
APIA coach Matteo Maiorana was thrilled, not just for the clinical first grade performance that strengthened their competition lead, but also for bolstering their club championship advantage.
"It was a brilliant performance, our best of the season!” he said. “The girls knew how important today was for the club and for our team and we responded.”
“UNSW are a very good side and they have a great coach but today we were at the top of our game and put on a great performance – seven club championship points was the most important aspect of the day.”
SD Raiders FC 1 (Dominique Caridad 75’) Western NSW Mariners FC 0, Sunday 23rd July 3pm, Ernie Smith Reserve
A late Dominique Caridad header stole a dramatic 1-0 victory for SD Raiders in a cracking match against Western NSW Mariners at Ernie Smith Reserve.
A balmy day greeted two sides embroiled in a top-four dogfight (with St George who had the bye) and the visitors showed great intent early to more than match their higher-ranked opponents and keep Southern Districts contained for lengthy periods in a scoreless first half.
It was a different story in the second as SD found their groove and strung together some good attacking moves without being able to land the killer blow, but just as the game seemed destined for a draw a Raiders corner saw an open Caridad head home a close-range winner (her 12th of a stellar season) inside the final quarter-hour.
The result shoots Districts into third spot (two points behind UNSW) with a third-straight Western NSW loss leaving them three points behind fourth-placed St George having played one more match than the Sydneysiders in what will be an enthralling sprint to the finish.
Mariners coach Jason Payne applauded his team’s first-half tenacity against Raiders and knows a playoff position is an arduous journey from here, but he still has strong belief in a developing side.
“It really was a game of two halves where we had the upper hand and had them pinned a fair chunk of the game; they were able to get out and create opportunities but I think we edged it in possession,” he said. “I made a few changes in the second half and we fell off the pace a bit at the back end, and they scored from an open header in the box.”
“We just need to pick up points and keep the pressure on the teams above us. It’s not an easy run home but we’ve had good results against a couple of the teams we’ll play.”
Payne refused to get ahead of himself but he does like what he sees ahead for his team. “From last year I had four returning first graders, so I had to pretty much rebuild the side,” he said.
“I picked up some players, one who’s played for Newcastle Jets before and one from Sydney Uni, the rest of the squad are 15-16 year olds and one 14 year old, so it’s a young side with six experienced heads, and it’s great experience for some of these young girls who are playing in a senior grade for the first time.”
Mount Druitt Town Rangers 10 () Parramatta FC 0, Sunday 23rd July 3pm, Popondetta Park
Mount Druitt Town Rangers thumped Parramatta FC 10-0 at Popondetta Park to keep their loose top-four chances alive.
It was a third straight double-figure scoreline for Mount Druitt against the cellar-dwellers following 11-2 and 11-0 wins earlier in the season, and Rangers have claimed almost a quarter of their total points from the last two weekends.
But top-four dreams remain distant – with five rounds to go Mount Druitt trail fourth-placed St George by eight points and face leaders APIA this Sunday.
Next week’s games
All round 17 Women’s State League games are 3pm on Sunday: University of NSW tackle SD Raiders in a top-three tussle at David Phillips Complex on Sunday (3pm kickoff), Mount Druitt Town Rangers host leaders APIA Leichhardt Tigers at Popondetta Park, St George welcome Parramatta FC to St George Stadium, while Western NSW Mariners have the bye.
-By Dan De Nardi