Three of the finals contenders dropped points, and there was another change at the top of the table, highlighting once again that nothing can be taken for granted. This week’s featured game took us to Valentine Sports Park, as Football NSW Institute faced Sydney University.
Match of the Round: Football NSW Institute v Sydney University
These two teams have gone in opposite directions since their Round 4 meeting, which Institute won 2-1. Uni are undefeated since that game, and they went into the weekend hot on the heels of league leaders Northern Tigers. On the other hand, Institute have only won twice since Round 4.
In the end, Sydney University would prevail, Cortnee Vine’s first half double earning them a 2-0 victory.
The Students looked to put the pressure on early, and had their first shot in the 6th minute after forcing a turnover high up the pitch. A 20 yard effort from Melissa Caceres was blocked by Greta Kraszula, and Vine’s follow up shot was saved by Olivia Riddel.
Institute were unable to control possession for long spells, and the Students kept going, nearly taking the lead with just under 20 minutes played. A great pass by Sarah Morgan sent Nicki Flannery away down the left side, Teigan Collister getting on the end of the cross and shooting wide.
Alex Epakis’s side then took a deserved lead on 25 minutes. Vine’s persistence led to the opportunity as she dispossessed Kraszula, coolly sidefooting the ball into the bottom corner to give Uni the lead.
To their credit, while Riddel would sometimes go long at goal kicks, Institute generally kept trying to play out from the back. Sydney University were well organised with their pressing, restricting the supply to the Institute forwards. When Institute did get into good positions, the final ball was lacking, and Uni goalkeeper Courtney Newbon remained largely untroubled.
Vine was definitely in the mood following her goal, almost fashioning another chance soon afterwards. The forward beat the Institute defence to a long ball, only to be denied by an excellent last ditch tackle from Jessika Nash.
Uni were posing a threat with their crosses, and on the half hour Clare Wheeler delivered a beauty to the far post, however Flannery wasn’t able to direct the ball goalwards.
The Students remained on top, striking a killer blow in the 44th minute. Morgan showed her vision and technique, playing a brilliant diagonal pass from the left touchline. Vine still had plenty to do, but an exquisite first touch off her chest set up the chance, and she finished well to make it 2-0.
The halftime break did nothing to slow Vine, and she continued to be a menace in the second half. Three minutes after the restart, she won the ball on the edge of the area and exchanged passes with Caceres, however Vine couldn’t get clean contact on the ball when it came back to her.
Uni’s next chance came on 55 minutes. A variation on the standard corner routine saw Flannery cut the ball back to Wheeler, who was in space just outside the area. The Newcastle Jets midfielder chipped the ball into the middle, and Tori Tumeth headed wide.
Collister then started to exert her influence, and she used her pace to reach a Flannery through pass, before beating a defender and flashing a shot just over the crossbar. Barely a minute later, Bianca Galic sent a shot through a crowd of players, forcing Riddel into a brilliant save.
In the 68th minute, Vine was inches away from completing her second hat trick in three games. Flannery got on the end of Collister’s excellent switch of play and picked out Vine, who volleyed against the bar.
At this point, Uni took their foot off the gas somewhat, allowing Institute to gain a foothold in the contest. Their midfield trio of Darcey Malone, Isabel Gomez and Scarlet Thomas started to combine well, while Sheridan Gallagher was able to cause problems with her pace and direct running.
There were 14 minutes remaining when Gallagher sprinted past Wheeler, before finding Claudia Valletta’s overlapping run down the right. Valletta crossed, but the ball was behind Institute forward Jordan Jasnos.
Barely a minute later, Thomas won a free kick 25 yards out. Gallagher stepped up, sending the free kick over the wall and crashing off the frame of the goal.
Uni would hold possession well to see out the game, and the closing minutes were broken up by multiple substitutions from both sides.
The victory sends Sydney University back to the top of the league after Northern Tigers were defeated 1-0 by NWS Koalas, with Institute remaining in tenth place. Both sides are at home next weekend, as Institute meet a resurgent Bankstown City, while Sydney University face North Shore Mariners.
Football NSW Institute 0
Sydney University 2 (Vine 25’ 44’)
Football NSW Institute: Olivia Riddel, Claudia Valletta, Greta Kraszula (c) (Paris Kambouris 86’), Jessika Nash, Zoe Dribbus (Holly Williams 81’), Isabel Gomez, Scarlet Thomas (Keira Danes 88’), Darcey Malone, Sheridan Gallagher, Charlie Rule, Jordan Jasnos
Unused substitutes: Amalia Plummer
Sydney University: Courtney Newbon, Charlotte McLean (Annabel Martin 73’), Clare Hunt, Tori Tumeth, Sarah Morgan (Taren King 88’), Bianca Galic, Clare Wheeler (c), Melissa Caceres, Nicki Flannery (Karly Vouros 84’), Cortnee Vine, Teigan Collister (Julie-Ann Russell 73’)
Unused substitutes: Carla Trimboli
Around the Grounds
Bankstown City 2 – 1 Manly United
Blacktown Spartans 1 – 3 Macarthur Rams
Emerging Jets 1 – 1 Illawarra Stingrays
North Shore Mariners 1 – 3 Sydney Olympic
NWS Koalas 1 – 0 Northern Tigers
|10||Football NSW Institute||15||5||0||10||21||39||-18||15|
|12||North Shore Mariners||15||1||0||14||16||57||-41||3|