The final round of the regular season in the Women’s State League promised to be an intriguing one as four teams found themselves in contention for the final three finals spots behind premiers APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC.
UNSW hosted Western NSW Mariners FC while SD Raiders FC welcomed Parramatta FC and APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC played the visiting St George FC at Lambert Park in the late kick off.
Match of the Round
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC vs St George FC
In the match of the round APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC welcomed top four hopefuls St George FC who were looking for a positive result to solidify their position in the finals. APIA on the other hand were looking to continue their winning form going into the finals and to end the regular season off in positive style.
The early minutes highlighted the contrasting styles of either team as APIA looked to control possession while St George attempted to press APIA in possession and break quickly. Marissa Nicopoulos conjured up the first real shot of the match for St George as she wriggled out of a tackle but blasted her shot wide. APIA though were quick to respond as only a couple of minutes later Carla Canini hit a shot but lacked any real power as St George goalkeeper Peta Koinis gathered easily.
APIA were now starting to build the pressure and the break through duly arrived on 19 minutes as Erin Clout bent a well measured creek kick from just outside the box past Koinis in goals to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead. The lead was then doubled a few minutes later as Clout cut in from the left and bent her shot past the dive of Koinis as APIA all of a sudden found themselves 2-0 up barely half an hour into the contest.
APIA looked to press for more as St George looked to hit on the counter through the pace of Nicopoulos. APIA did make it 3-0 though as Jennifer Bennett was sent through and she slide her shot into the far corner. The game was now threatening to become a blow out as APIA added a fourth through Madeline Latham after another slipped ball through the backline of St George.
St George were now well and truly struggling as they could not keep up with the pace and movement of APIA. The half time score read 4-0 but in truth it could have a been more as only some desperate St George defending prevented APIA from adding more goals.
The second half very much started like the first finished as APIA looked to take control and press forward for more goals. Rebecca Watts nearly squeezed home a fifth for APIA but saw her shot well saved by Koinis. APIA looked to continue to create chances but St George held firm as they showed some second half fight.
St George very nearly grabbed a consolation goal with about 15 minutes left on the clock as Renee Mansour saw her shot well smothered by APIA goalkeeper Courtney Halpin. APIA pushed in the second half for more goals but in the end settled for a 4-0 win over St George as they wrapped up the regular season in style.
APIA coach Matteo Maiorana was understandably pleased with his team and the club.
“It was a brilliant season, for us as a club, to be crowned club champions, win two Premierships and have 4 teams make the semi’s was a phenomenal effort.”
St George coach Carlo Tini was in contrast disappointed with the result and conceded the first half was where it was lost as his team gave APIA far to much room.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC 4 (Erin Clout 19’,26’, Jennifer Bennett 32’, Madeline Latham 38’)
St George FC 0
Sunday August 27th 7pm, Lambert Park
APIA Leichhardt Tigers FC: 16.Jennifer Bennett, 8.Carla Canini, 5.Olivia Cicco, 7.Erin Clout(43.Tiarne Schuman 59’) 2.Stephanie Glanville-Fyfe(50.Alina Stotcevski 70’)12.Madeline Latham, 15.Kylie Manias, 19.Jessica Martinez(41.Moya Denford 45’) 20.Gillian Raymond(1.Courtney Halpin 45’), 38.Sarah Urquhart,14.Rebecca Watts
Unused subs:25. Emily Smith
St George FC: 25. Jacklyn Gabriel, 03.Lauren Gardner, 17.Jacobi Kitchen-Gurney,23.Peta Koinis,24.Julia Mamo,26(77.Renee Mansour 73’)Ashley Miller,9.Marissa Nicopoulos(2.Serena Bomze 79’)4.Antonia Sarikakis,15.Palorna Shrestha,10.Vanessa Stanton,5.Theoni Thimakis
Unused Subs:40.Natasha Gadd,6.Lara Nicholls,11.Ashleigh Regan
SD Raiders 10(S.Bryant,C.Moio,D.Caridad,D.Buttigiegx2,C.Krope,B.Williamsx3)
Parramatta FC 0, Sunday August 27th 3pm, Stanwell Oval
SD Raiders FC secured second spot on the table after a comprehensive 10-0 win over Parramatta FC with B.Williams scoring three while D.Buttigieg grabbed a double.
While the Raiders switch their attention to Finals football Parramatta FC will be glad their nightmare season is over and will be hoping for vast improvement next season.
The Raiders will now be looking to defend their grand final win from last year but will be aware of a APIA side which this year is determined to recorded the double while the remaining two teams in the finals will have their eyes set on becoming champions.
UNSW 2(Christine Lucantonio, Grace McCormick)
Western NSW Mariners FC 0, Sunday August 27th 3pm,5sports Caringbah
It was a winner takes all battle at Caringbah as UNSW prevailed over Western NSW Mariners FC two goals to nil and in doing so ending the Mariners season.
Goals from Christine Lucantonio and Grace McCormick helped UNSW to victory and secure them third place in the table.
The Mariners on the other hand missed out on the finals by a solitary point as St George took the fourth and final spot.
UNSW must now turn their attention to the finals while the Mariners on the other hand will be bitterly disappointed with their performance and the realization that they will not compete in the finals, but now must focus on next year and building towards a successful 2018 season.
Source FNSW -By Sebastian Kalos