ROUND 15 – NPL 2 NSW WOMEN’S PREVIEW

As the clock continues to tick down on the end of the National Premier League 2 Womens season, teams need to start making their moves.

This is important for those in mid-table, if they want to play finals football, as another intriguing set of matches are ready to play out across the NPL2 Womens stage.

Match of the Round: Gladesville Ravens vs Nepean FC, Sunday 17 June, 6pm, Christie Park

Our match of the round this weekend, heads out to Christie Park, as a resurgent Nepean FC look to continue the misery of Gladesville Ravens, in the late kick-off on Sunday night.

Much like Icarus perhaps the Ravens flew too close to the sun, after their solid start to the season, the goal-scoring, and conversely their form, has dried up leaving Gladesville in an unfamiliar seventh position, although they can draw level with Nepean FC if they can end the drought.

Nepean FC might have finally turned the corner they needed. Their campaign has been blighted by inconsistency and missed chances, but a pair of successes against Marconi and UNSW has put a spring in their step.

While it wasn’t perfect against the students – Nepean still conspired to hit the crossbar thrice – three points does help. They have a solid defensive core and Stefanie Trovato, Imogen Lane and Britney Pelle up-top might sway the contest in their favour.

These two sides played out a 1-1 draw back in round four, a draw here would be much better for Nepean, as the Ravens need to re-find their early season form quickly, so we’re set for a tense contest Sunday night.

Central Coast Mariners vs SD Raiders, Sunday 17 June, 3pm, IFS

Over the next three weeks SD Raiders face a trial almost as treacherous as Homer Simpson’s Stonecutter initiation, and it starts with heading up the highway to take on the in-form Mariners at IFS on the weekend.

Similar to a greatest hits radio station, the Mariners rolled out their best artillery in their romp of Southern Branch FC. Candice Phelan, Iona Snape and Gabrielle Blanch all featured in the 7-1 victory as SD Raiders were the unlucky fixture to be postponed in last week’s wet weather.

Prior to their enforced rest, SD Raiders were in prime form. A run of three straight victories had them locked into fourth position – helped by the fine fettle of Samantha Nagy and Logan Garard compliment Cassidy Chidgey and their stoic defense which all need to be at top form against the free-scoring Mariners.

Thawed out from their trip south, the Mariners issued a big statement a fortnight ago against APIA then followed by another huge success. Their talisman in Candice Phelan has 27 now for the season while youngsters Jordan Evans and Iona Snape show there is some great talent coming through the ranks and Sunday is the chance for an attacking smorgasboard between two talented teams.

Marconi Stallions vs Southern Branch FC, Sunday 17 June, 3pm, Marconi Stadium

In their second season in NPL2 Womens, Marconi Stallions have flattered to deceive, but have a chance to perk themselves up as Southern Branch FC make the trip to Bossley Park in Round 15.

Coming into the weekend, both sides were dealt heavy defeats – Marconi Stallions fell 4-1 to a revived Inter Lions and Southern Branch, while they put up a fight, succumbed 7-1 to a rampant Mariners side at home.

Last time these two met, Marconi put Southern Branch to the sword, 8-1 and with the talent available to them, including Hannah Voloder, Jess Beale and Demelza Howard the Stallions may find themselves back in the mix on Sunday night.

Western NSW Mariners vs APIA Leichhardt Tigers, Sunday 17 June, 3pm, Sir Jack Brabham Park

Fresh from their break, APIA Leichhardt Tigers make the longest trip left in their schedule as they go west to Orange, taking on a chastened Western NSW Mariners side.

Both sides will be stewing on losses coming into the weekend. APIA Leichhardt have now had two weeks to swallow their 5-2 loss to the Mariners while Western NSW were left stunned by St George FC 3-1 which might put them out of finals reckoning.

APIA has plenty of class players that won’t make it back-to-back poor performances. Lucy Gilfedder had a rare misstep in midfield while their defense was unusually porous. Luckily for them, they have Ash Palombi up-front and a whole swathe of attacking options that should see them get back into the winner’s circle.

The home side are losing touch with the mid-table quickly. They’re six points from challenging Nepean FC, and need to turn their results around. For that, they’ll need a big performance from their experienced players including Jess Daymond and Teegan Courtney to tame the Tigers.

St George FC vs Sydney Olympic FC, Sunday 17 June, 3pm, St George Stadium

Can the Saints do it again? After collecting their first points of the season, they welcome the unbeaten Olympic side to St George Stadium to try and topple the giants of NPL2 Womens.

The roar that followed after St George FC’s maiden victory was all their frustration turned into ecstasy after 14-week barren run. Now they follow that up with Sydney Olympic FC visiting after they put seven past Gladesville.

For the Saints if they are to pull off the upset of the season, Marissa Nicopoulos will be at the center. The livewire attacker scored in their 3-1 victory and put together impressive performances in recent weeks, so another one against Olympic is needed.

Regarding Olympic FC, they are the competition front-runners for a reason. Lieke Bever banging in goals up top alongside the talents of Madelaine Costanzo and Danielle Calvi makes for a daunting prospect for the other eleven NPL2 sides.

UNSW FC vs Inter Lions SC, Sunday 17 June, 3pm, Valentine Sports Park

Much like the magnet pull of two opposing forces, UNSW FC and Inter Lions are travelling in different directions, as they come together at Football HQ on Sunday afternoon.

The Lions have been the pride of the mid-table with three straight wins headlined by a 4-1 success against fellow finals aspirants Marconi Stallions, who they face again on Thursday while UNSW FC were blanked again against Nepean FC.

Finding the back of the net has become an issue for the students. In the last five games they have scored twice while conceding 17 makes for grim reading. Coming up against in-form goalie Natasha Pentecost means the UNSW strikers need to fire to keep their season alive.

It is simple for Inter Lions – just continue to secure three points. After the slow start to the season, Abboud’s side has sprung to life, Kirilee Cook the star, slotting goals and a fluid style of play has them prime to possibly snatch the last finals spot.

Source FNSW -By Justin Davies