A sunny Sunday 11.30am kick off saw the visit of Sutherland to Christie Park in this Under 14 NPL2W clash between two teams easing themselves slowly into the new season.
Goals either side of half time from Ruby Hart and Amelie Pyne saw the visitors leave with three well-deserved points in an absorbing encounter.
Ravens will rue their inability to turn possession into chances in a dominant opening to the game, while Sutherland will be happy to get their first points on the board after a difficult opening fixture.
An increasingly warm day in North Western Sydney saw two teams looking to kick start their seasons go head to head on the pristine surface of Christie Park No. 2. The home team Gladesville Ravens had been brushed aside by Marconi in their previous game, while the visitors Sutherland had a tough day against the powerhouse of Central Coast Mariners in their only game of the season so far.
Ravens started brightly, Eme Johnson and Sage Melhem involved in some early exchanges, the Ravens starting on the offensive. Sutherland goalkeeper Abbey Stone restored some calm to proceedings, sweeping up confidently behind her backline and the visitors settled into their game. Some tentative moments playing out from the back had Ravens on the back foot, and that eventually led to the opening goal. Ravens defender Aurelia Smith went into a strong tackle, but the ball popped out to Sutherland midfielder Ruby Hart, who advanced unchallenged into the box before unleashing a shot inside the post with Ravens goalkeeper Chloe Mccredie beaten. The introduction of Jackie Rice gave the home team some tenacity up front, and midfield dynamo Georgia Lim started to get into the game. The first half ended though with the scoreline reflecting the balance of play, the visitors a goal to the good.
The second half began where the first left off, Sutherland in control. With a lively forward line, headlined by Antonnea Arfanis, they fashioned a number of situations in and around the box. Mccredie was happy to see a shot loop past the corner of post and bar, but she could do nothing to prevent the second goal, Arfanis breaking down the left to shoot. The shot was well parried, but fell into the path of Amelie Pyne to shoot low past the keeper for 2-0. Sophie Parker was now running the midfield and the visitors looked likely to get another. A moment of madness then occurred, an offside decision overruled in favour of playing on, Mccredie picking the ball up and advancing out of her penalty area with the ball in her hands. The free kick was central, but the resulting effort was high and mighty over the wall and the bar.
The increasing heat took its toll on the quality of the play towards the end, Ravens at least putting in a good shift to try and turn the game. It was in vain though and 2-0 was the final score, propelling the visitors above the Ravens and sending the home team down a few positions in the table.
Ravens travel to Nowra on Anzac Day to play a free-scoring South East Phoenix, while Sutherland host Northbridge Bulls.
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