Round 20 of the Women’s State League saw Western NSW Mariners play host to Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC while last placed Parramatta FC welcomed APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC and St George FC took on UNSW in a crucial top four encounter.
Match of the Round - St George vs UNSW
In the match of the round this week St George welcomed UNSW in what shape as a crucial encounter for both teams as UNSW as both teams looked to cement themselves in the top four.
UNSW travelled to St George in a confident mood after last week’s big win over Parramatta FC while St George were looking to bounce back after a disappointing loss away to the Western NSW Mariners FC last round.
The game began at a cracking pace as both teams looked to start on the front foot.
UNSW created the first goal scoring chance 7 minutes in when top scorer Yadira Rengifo broke through the St George defence but could only steer her shot straight at St George goalkeeper Peta Koinis
A minute later Marissa Nicopou broke through for St George but she saw her shot well saved by Tiana Milisavljevic in the UNSW goals as UNSW scrambled the ball to safety.
The pace up front for both teams were causing headaches for each of the teams defences as Rengifo again utilized her pace to get behind the St George defence but she could only spray her shot over the top from a tight angle.
It only seemed a matter of time before UNSW grabbed one as they began to dominate proceedings as St George looked to hit on the break. The movement for Rengifo was causing the St George defence problems but she was unable to find a way past Koinis in the St George goals.
Christine Lucantonio was the next to test the Koinis as she saw her shot well saved after a scramble in the box 28 minutes in. UNSW were very nearly punished for their inability to find the back of the net though as Jacobi Kitchen-Gurney came the closet from either team to open the scoring after hitting the cross bar after a cut back from the left which fell to her invitingly.
St George began to work their way back into the contest as half time loomed but it was UNSW who again were inches away from taking what would have been a deserved lead as they saw a mad scramble in the St George box eventually cleared off the line, as the score remained 0-0 at halftime.
UNSW missed another golden opportunity barely a minute into the second half as Lucantonio found herself one-on-one with Koinis after a mix up in the St George defence but she could only steer her shot wide of the post.
UNSW’s inability to be clinical in the final third eventually was punished by St George as Nicopoulos steered her shot into an open goal after Milisavljevic was unable to hold onto the ball.
UNSW attempted to turn the pressure up on St George as they dominated possession with St George happy to sit back and hit on the counter. Lucantonio went on a mazy dribble but saw her shot easily gathered by Koinis as UNSW pressed for an equaliser. St George though held firm as they soaked up the UNSW pressure and defended resolutely.
In fact UNSW should have wrapped up the game with 5 minutes to go as Nicopoulos found herself through one-on-one again but she could only direct her shot wide of the post. In the end it didn't matter as St George held on for a gritty and important three points heading into the last regular season game of the year next week.
St George coach Carlo Tini was pleased with the grit his team showed to be able to secure a crucial three points.
“Proud of the guts, spirit and fight that the team showed everyone gave 100%”.
UNSW coach Renato Jelen was understandably disappointed with the result as his teams finishing let them down at crucial moments in the contest.
St George FC 1 ( Marissa Nicopoulos 51’) vs UNSW 0
Sunday 20th August 3pm, St George Stadium
St George FC: 25.Jacklyn Gabriel, 03.Lauren Gardner, 17.Jacobi Kitchen-Gurney(18.Sarah Blaydon 86’), 23.Peta Koinis, 26.Ashley Miller(14.Emily Papas 68’) , 9.Marissa Nicopoulos, 12.Palorna Shrestha, 7.Carla Smith, 10.Vanessa Stanton, 5.Theoni Thimakis, 4.Antonia Sarikakis
Substitutes not used: 40.Natasha Gadd, 11.Ashleigh Regan
Yellow Cards: 9.Marissa Nicopoulos 44’, 17.Jacobi Kitchen-Gurney 56’, 25.Jacklyn Gabriel 65’
UNSW: 3.Charlotte Bridson, 29.Celia Brown, 4.Tara Casserly, 22.Heidi Cummings(17.Andrea Olrich 72’), 5.Donna Helm, 23.Alice Kreisler, 10.Christine Lucantonio, 20.Emma McCarthy, 30.Grace McCormick, 1.Tiana Milisavljevic, 33.An Nagayoshi(9.Summer Dann 72’),34.Yadira Rengifo, 36.Miranda Summersby-Mitchell, 8.Nicole Zwahlen
Parramatta FC 0 vs APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC 9( J.Martinez x4, R.Watts x2, L.Gilfedder, E.Clout, Denford), Sunday August 20th 3pm, Melita Stadium
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC demonstrated yet again the attacking quality they possess as they continued their build up to the finals with a comprehensive 9-0 victory over the hapless Parramatta FC.
Martinez was that star of the show as she struck 4 times while Watts chimed in with a double and Gilfedder Clout and 17 year old Denford on her first grade debut rounded out the scoring.
More significantly for APIA the win secured the club championship much to the delight of the entire club.
First Grade coach Matteo Maiorana was delighted with this achievement.
“It was an exciting day for the club as today we won the Club Championship.
“It allowed us today in First Grade to use five 17’s of which three were making their first grade debut in Duwenback, Griffin and Denford, we are building nicely. Robbie is doing a phenomenal job in the 17s and club is reaping the benefits”.
APIA will now be focused on finishing the regular season on a high next week before heading into a finals series which they hope will end with a grand final victory.
Western NSW Mariners FC 3( Jasmin Courtenay, Tegan Courtney, Poorsha Mcphillamy) vs Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC, Sunday August 20th 3pm, Majorie Jackson Field
Western NSW Mariners FC recorded a crucial victory over Mt Druitt Town Rangers FC as they set up a winner take all game next week against UNSW.
They proved to be too strong for Mt Druitt as Jasmin Courtenay continued her strong scoring form by grabbing the first before Tegan Courtney and Poorsha Mcphillamy rounded out the scoring.
Mariners coach Jason Payne was pleased with his teams performance but is conscious that his team now must prepare for a massive clash next week if they are to secure finals football this year.
Source FNSW Website -By Sebastian Kalos