The race for the final spot in the top five is quickly becoming football’s version of theatrical and captivating Rocky dual as the fight looks to go the distance, while the top contenders continue to throw haymakers at each other. Who will prevail in a marathon season, this weekend might help make some of those decisions.
Match of the Round: Gladesville Ravens vs Marconi Stallions, Sunday 1 July, 6pm, Christie Park #1
Resurgent Gladesville Ravens look to make it three victories on the trot, as they welcome another side on an upswing, Marconi Stadium to Christie Park, for the 6pm kick-off.
Both teams as stated come into the contest in form. Gladesville with a pair of 1-nil victories over Nepean and Inter Lions while Marconi put on their shooting boots, scoring seven in a trio of successes over the last month.
Gladesville has found themselves again. Their two victories have come from stout defensive performances helped by the return of keeper Eri Arikawa. They have utilized their pace on the break, and Emily Diaz has been the star with a wonder strike against Nepean FC followed by another winner last weekend.
Whilst the Ravens have been miserly, Marconi has operated on just finding more goals than their opponent. Jess Beale continues to find the net with consistency (she has nine for the season) as her fellow striker Demelza Howard compliments her style well.
So we’re set up for a wonderful clash of styles for the Match of the Round this weekend, so strap in and enjoy the football across all the fixtures on Sunday.
Central Coast Mariners vs Sydney Olympic FC, Sunday 1 July, 3pm, IFS
Round 2! The two title contenders come together, this time up on the coast, as undefeated Olympic travel to IFS, taking on their closest rival in Central Coast Mariners.
Sydney Olympic FC have Goldberg looking over his shoulder, as they remain unbroken after 16 weeks. Their latest triumph was an eight-goal feast against APIA Leichhardt where Danielle Calvi netted a hat-trick and top-scorer Lieke De Bever didn’t register a goal.
Sitting second, Central Coast recovered from their blip against SD Raiders with a five-star success against sister club Western NSW. Candice Phelan moved past the 30-goal mark with four and sets up a mouth-watering duel between the leading strikers in NPL2 Womens.
Both these two powerhouses are packed with talent. Jordan Evans has supplied goals for the Mariners, the stellar forward line of Madelaine Costanzo, Calvi and Kristy Rohrer backing up De Bever. Lastly a mention for the tireless work of the Mariners midfield as we’re set for a classic contest on the coast Sunday.
Western NSW Mariners vs SD Raiders, Sunday 1 July, 3pm, Sir Jack Brabham Park
In this week’s edition of where in the state is SD Raiders? It’s Orange! They finish off their three-week round trip across NSW, taking on Western NSW Mariners at Sir Jack Brabham Park.
SD Raiders have cut a swathe through the competition in the last month, five straight victories has them sat comfortable in third. Their latest was a mid-week mauling of APIA Leichhardt, 3-nil which followed their four-goal margin against Southern Branch.
Central to their success has been striker Cassidy Chidgey, and her combination with both Logan Garard and the Raiders two mid-season signings – Kasia Wojtowicz and Elizabeth O’Reilly – has them primed for the much easier run home after next week’s top of the table clash.
The hosts come into the weekend, buoyed by their success in the reverse fixture, against SD Raiders. One thing you can expect from the Mariners is a 90-minute effort, and if both Teegan Courtney and Jess Daymond produce on the day, it makes for a tense fixture.
Southern Branch FC vs UNSW FC, Sunday 1 July, 3pm, South Nowra Football Complex
Tenth takes on twelfth as UNSW FC make their second trip down to the south coast for the season, taking on Southern Branch FC, on a crisp Sunday afternoon.
Their last trip to Nowra brought happier times for the students. They plundered five goals which is their total return in the last eight losses, the latest being a 3-1 loss to a surging Marconi Stallions. Despite their misgivings, Renato Jelen was pleased with the students play and hope it is a repeat performance against Southern Branch.
The home side still remain on nul point. Some encouraging performances of their own including a half-time lead against Marconi has improved the spirits around the side, but they desperately won’t want to finish on the duck egg and this fixture might represent their best chance.
St George FC vs Inter Lions, Sunday 1 July, 3pm, St George Stadium
Inter Lions make the trip to St George stadium, taking on an improved St George FC on Sunday afternoon looking to keep their finals hopes alive headed into the run home.
The visitors chances were dealt a cruel blow with their one-goal loss to a dogged Gladesville Ravens that has the Lions four points behind Marconi Stallions in fifth position. For St George FC, they once again battled hard, but fell 2-nil to Nepean FC.
Regarding Inter, they have the weapons to pull apart the St George side. They were on the winning side in a goal bonaza back in round six, 5-3, and Kirilee Cook, Sarah Mandile and Dominique Caridad can repeat the dose down by the seaside.
St George FC has won some plaudits from the opposition coaches in recent weeks, with some improved performances. June has been their best month with six points and if they can continue to play spoiler, they could have a say in this season’s finals race still.
APIA Leichhardt Tigers vs Nepean FC, Sunday 1 July, 7pm, Lambert Park
If frustration could be bottled, these two sides could fill a whole crate in recent months. Both APIA Leichhardt Tigers and Nepean FC aren’t where they want to be currently as they round off the fixtures on Sunday evening.
The football can bounce in cruel ways and for APIA, it has continued to bounce against them in a four-game losing streak enhanced by their mid-week catch up against SD Raiders. Matteo Maiorana has lamented some basic errors from a talented Tigers team that can match up against any opponent on their day.
Eliana Vatcky has taken to NPL2 Womens like a duck to water and her energy on either flank brings a new dimension to the Tigers team. Ash Palombi continues to find the back of the net, and the industry of Jennifer Bennett will be central to getting the side back on track.
Nepean FC are like a box of chocolates – you never know what you may get. That is something which has either had Alan Tasses joyful or lost for words. Last week was the former as they swept aside St George FC but they’ll need to improve – that is why he brought in Annie Halls and her partnership with Stefanie Trovato is key to possibly adding to APIA’s frustrations.
Source FNSW website - By Justin Davies