ROUND 11 – NATIONAL PREMIER LEAGUES WOMEN’S PREVIEW

Woah we’re halfway there, woah-ohh Mariners and Olympic on a tear. Bad rhymes aside, this weekend has a series of intriguing match-ups with 2nd taking on 4th, APIA unveiling their new signings and the others trying to find their way at the halway mark of the National Premier League 2 Women’s competition.

Match of the Round: SD Raiders vs UNSW FC, Sunday 20th May, 6pm, Ernie Smith Reserve

This weekend’s Match of Round takes us back to south-west Sydney, as the SD Raiders try to strike at the top four, taking on an improving UNSW FC side on Sunday night, out at Ernie Smith Reserve.

SD Raiders played in a wild 3-3 draw against neighbours Marconi Stallions, as UNSW had late heartbreak in their game against Mariners, which leaves them as Schrodinger’s football team, neither at the top or the bottom of the ladder.

Meanwhile the Raiders have started to find form – Cassidy Chidgey continues to find the net with regularity which has kept Matt Constantini’s side in the hunt for finals, despite their injury toll and if they win and results fall their way, could be in the top four.

Over the other end of the pitch, UNSW FC have shown in their defeats to APIA and Central Coast that they can hang with the big clubs in this division, but need to work on putting together a full 90 minutes against SD Raiders on Sunday afternoon.

If they can, it means getting quick service to their forwards – Paige Ayton and Amy Altman to trouble an already bruised Raiders defense, as a wide open contest awaits for the Match of the Round.

Central Coast Mariners vs Gladesville Ravens, Sunday 20th May, IFS, 3pm

Hopefully the fans take some time away from the beach on Sunday afternoon, as there is a mouth-watering clash to unfold at IFS, Central Coast Mariners take on fourth place Gladesville Ravens.

The Mariners train continues to roll on the track. They have won five straight including a 5-nil thrashing of Marconi, and this train will be all stops until the finals series.

Gladesville Ravens pulled off probably the result of the weekend, a 1-1 draw against APIA Leichhardt, so they are prepared for the challenge of the Mariners, trying to bridge the gap to the rest of the top four.

One of the major factors to the Ravens success has been their resolute defense – they have only conceded 11 goals through the first half of the season. Gladesville’s firepower up top in recent weeks has helped them improve their goal tally, as they need to find the net against the top sides of the division.

It seems like we’re writing about Candice Phelan’s goal-scoring feats every week, but she has deserved the plaudits, crossing 20 goals for the season, and with the Mariners not looking like slowing down, she has plenty of chance to add to that.

Western NSW Mariners vs Marconi Stallions Sunday 20th May, 3pm, Majorie Jackson Field

Western NSW Mariners can park their cars firmly in the drive way, the regional side has 11 of their final 12 games at home, look to start their charge against Marconi Stallions in Lithgow this weekend.

Both sides come into the weekend off losses; the Mariners against a vibrant Inter side while Marconi were hit for five, by a rampaging Central Coast team, leaving them both at the wrong end of the ladder.

The first half of the season has been a rollercoaster for the Stallions. From the peaks of their four straight victories to the valleys of being unable to compete against the top of the division – but they need to be beating the teams around them, like Western NSW, to keep their chase up.

On their day both sides have some dynamic attacking prospects – for Western NSW, Teegan Courtney has played been a one-woman show in front of goal while the Stallions has a plethora of options which has this game set to be a wild west shootout.

Sydney Olympic FC vs Inter Lions Sunday 20th May, 3pm, Peter Moore Field

The runaway competition leaders look to end the first half of the season on a high, as they take on the Inter Lions at Peter Moore Field on Sunday afternoon.

Olympic FC put the cleaners through Nepean FC, 5-nil as their unbeaten run stretched to ten, as they take on a rejuvenated Inter Lions side, coming off a comfortable 3-1 victory against Western NSW Mariners.

The off-season signings has proven a boon for the premiers – Siahn Bozanic, Lieke Bever and Kristy Rohrer has taken an already fantastic team to a new level. Not to mention, last season’s golden boot in Madelaine Costanzo and an on-fire Danielle Clavi makes it a tough task for the visiting Inter Lions side.

A few weeks ago, Danny Abboud said the points would come, and the young Lions side has started to find their rhythm in the competition. Their defense was solid against the Mariners and when they click, Dominique Caridad and Zoe Zaczek can find the net and possibly end the Olympic streak at ten.

Nepean FC vs Southern Branch FC, Sunday 20th May, 6:30pm, Cook Park

Nepean FC aim to bounce back from their heavy defeat, as they take on bottom side, Southern Branch FC, in the twilight kick-off at Cook Park this weekend.

The women from the foot of the mountains were swept aside by Sydney Olympic last weekend as Southern Branch FC had a break from their campaign, with the rain calling off their contest against fellow strugglers St George FC.

Alan Tasses has bemoaned the ‘errors’ that has cruelled Nepean FC through the first 11 rounds, with Stefanie Trovato back and defensive rock in Desiree Vassallo leading the way, it should stop them from errors and complacency against a Southern Branch FC side clawing to find their first points of the season.

APIA Leichhardt Tigers vs St George FC, Sunday 20th May, 7pm, Lambert Park

Back under the bright lights of Lambert Park, APIA Leichhardt want to get themselves back in the winner’s circle against one of the division’s bottom clubs, St George FC.

The Tigers were pegged back late against Gladesville despite the sparkling performance of Lucy Gilfedder. In answer to that, the club has been active in the transfer market, signing Britney Palombi and welcoming back Stephanie Fyfe to bolster their stocks for the run home.

Britney Palombi brings an impressive goal-scoring record, 59 goals in her past four seasons, in the Canberra league. Her arrival just makes the already imposing strike-force of Ash Palombi, Karen Saavedra and Christina Ferreyra much more foreboding for team’s in the second half of the season.

For St George, due to their washed-out contest last week, they missed a chance to get some points on the board. So the flagging side will be primed to take the field, and if they can match the Tigers, create the shock of the season.

Source FNSW website - By Justin Davies