Round 13 was another typically action-packed weekend in the NSW NPL Women’s competition, with an average of four goals per game. A gap is starting to form between the top five and the rest, so those teams not currently in the finals spots have their work cut out for them.
Match of the Round: Sydney University v Blacktown Spartans
This week’s featured match took us to Sydney University Football Ground for a clash between second placed Sydney University and third placed Blacktown Spartans.
The teams went into the contest separated only by goal difference, with both sides a point behind league leaders Northern Tigers. Both outfits also were looking to maintain long unbeaten runs. Uni were undefeated in eight games, while Spartans had eight wins and a draw in their last nine matches.
In the end, it was Sydney University who would keep their unbeaten run going for another week after a dominant performance. Cortnee Vine was the star of the day, netting a hat trick to lead her side to a 3-0 victory.
The first chance fell Uni’s way in the 5th minute when Vine outran two defenders and crossed from the right wing. Unfortunately for the home team, Nicki Flannery misjudged her header, allowing Spartans goalkeeper Casey Dumont to gather possession.
A couple of minutes later, Spartans had an opportunity after Linda Dudek intercepted a clearance and passed to Ashlie Crofts, who appeared to be in an offside position. Play was allowed to continue, and Crofts found Olivia Price, who shot wide from 25 yards.
There were contrasting attacking approaches on show. The Students were looking for width and trying to get players in behind the opposition fullbacks. On the other hand, Spartans were trying to hit their strike partnership of Crofts and Dudek with early passes from deep.
Sydney University were more successful at getting into dangerous areas, and opened the scoring midway through the first half. Bianca Galic started the move with a great diagonal pass to find Taren King’s overlapping run, and her cross was perfect for Cortnee Vine, who found the bottom corner.
King seemed to be relishing her new role at right back, and this assist followed on from her 86th minute winner in Uni’s last game against Bankstown City.
The two sides remained fairly conservative after the goal, and the Spartans backline stayed deep to counter Vine’s electric speed. Meanwhile, the Uni centre back pairing of Tori Tumeth and Clare Hunt were working well together, keeping Crofts and Dudek quiet for most of the contest.
As a result, goalmouth action was at a premium, although things opened up towards the end of the first half.
In the 41st minute, Flannery crossed from the left, and a last ditch tackle from Tanya Borazio prevented Julie-Ann Russell from getting a shot away.
A few minutes later Spartans centre back Hannah Bourke took the initiative, weaving past two opponents and finding Price on the left wing. Bourke stayed with the play as Price’s cross was cleared, and unleashed a volley towards goal but couldn’t keep it down.
The home team were mostly in control for the opening 20 minutes of the second half, spending the majority of that time in Spartans territory and winning multiple corners.
However, Spartans did have one great chance in the 52nd minute when Crofts skipped away from Tumeth on the right wing. The cross was pinpoint, but Dudek’s header went inches wide of the far post.
At this point, the game was being played mainly in the middle of the park. The Students stayed compact to counter the Spartans formation, which featured four central midfielders in a diamond shape. This meant that the away team were restricted to occasional efforts from distance, none of which troubled Courtney Newbon in the Uni goal.
The second half introduction of Uni attackers Teigan Collister and Melissa Caceres helped them to keep the pressure on their opponents. Collister was particularly threatening with some direct running down the left flank, and in the 76th minute she received Vine’s pass before testing Dumont from inside the area.
The pressure finally told in the 82nd minute as the home side doubled their lead. Julie-Ann Russell did well to evade the defence and force a save from Dumont, however Vine was in the right place to score from the rebound.
The Students now had their tails up, and there was nearly a chance to make it three soon afterwards. The move was started by a fantastic bit of play from Tumeth, as she intercepted a pass and beat two defenders before finding Uni substitute Georgia Pollitt. However, Pollitt’s through ball to Vine was slightly overhit, and Dumont was quick off her line to clear the danger.
Unfortunately for Spartans, Dumont would then blot her copybook with almost the last action of the contest. The goalkeeper passed the ball straight to Vine, who had a simple finish to complete her hat trick and make it 3-0.
The result keeps Sydney University in second place. Spartans drop to fifth, but are still very much in contention as they’re only four points off the top of the table.
Both sides have big games next weekend. Uni face fellow title chasers Sydney Olympic at Peter Moore Field, while Blacktown Spartans host league leaders Northern Tigers at Blacktown Football Park.
Sydney University 3 (Cortnee Vine 23’ 82’ 90’)
Blacktown Spartans 0
Sydney University: Courtney Newbon, Taren King (c) (Charlotte McLean 85’), Clare Hunt, Tori Tumeth, Annabel Martin, Clare Wheeler, Bianca Galic (Karly Vouros 83’), Carla Trimboli (Melissa Caceres 71’), Julie-Ann Russell (Georgia Pollitt 83’), Cortnee Vine, Nicki Flannery (Teigan Collister 55’)
Blacktown Spartans: Casey Dumont, Alix Roberts (c), Keisha Allen, Hannah Bourke, Tanya Borazio, Kristy Rohrer, Annabelle Daczko, Bethany Gordon (Natalie Vukovic 88’), Olivia Price, Linda Dudek, Ashlie Crofts
Unused substitutes: Regan Hill, Rhiannon Burns, Tiarne Flavin, Georgia Vlangos
Around the Grounds
Bankstown City 2 – 1 Emerging Jets
Illawarra Stingrays 1 – 1 NWS Koalas
Manly United 2 – 1 North Shore Mariners
Northern Tigers 3 – 2 Macarthur Rams
Sydney Olympic 7 – 1 Football NSW Institute
|8||Football NSW Institute||13||5||0||8||20||32||-12||15|
|12||North Shore Mariners||13||1||0||12||13||51||-38||3|