Photo: GETTY IMAGES
By Isaac McIntyre
The second home game for the Newcastle Jets saw the girls in red and blue welcome Canberra United for their first showdown of the new season.
After a disappointing injury-time defeat last weekend, the Jets were looking for all three points at home and a chance to keep with the table leaders as the campaign entered Round 5. With no changes to the starting line-up, the Jets on paper looked to be well placed take their first win off Canberra United and recover from the defeat that left them shaking their head last weekend.
Although the wet weather kept the game sluggish, the Newcastle girls got off to a strong start on the front foot, testing Matildas keeper Lydia Williams in Canberra’s goals and creating chances from each wing.
The first definitive shot of the match came off the boot of Chloe Lozargo from outside the eighteen yard box, forcing Williams to knock it over the bar and deliver Newcastle a corner, but the chance came to nothing and Canberra’s keeper kept her clean sheet.
A breakaway down the wing after a neatly placed through-ball gave Ashleigh Sykes a chance on the Jets’ goal just before the twentieth minute, but Hannah Southwell managed to throw herself on the ball cutting off the attack.
Newcastle took the opportunity to build a counter attack, creating two close chances on goals that forced Williams to clear it behind her net and force another corner, which again resulted in nothing for the home side.
Rhali Dobson threatened the right wing again as she broke away from two defenders, crossing from the edge of the eighteen yard box to find Caprice Dydasco waiting on the far side, but Dydasco’s on-target shot could only find the gloves of Williams once more.
With less than five minutes to half time, Dobson loomed large once more, with a lovely weighted cross from Tara Andrews giving her another chance from the right, but the ball nicked the top of the bar and rolled over, going behind for a goal kick and signalling the end of the first forty-five minutes.
Neither side could break down the other’s defence as the second half dragged on and as the rain continued to coat the pitch there was nothing both team’s forwards could do to change the score line of the match.
Michelle Heyman almost put a chance past Southwell by her near post, but Newcastle’s keeper shone once more, keeping the ball out and sending it behind to keep both teams level.
With the time ticking down to the final whistle, United piled on the pressure, looking to deliver a late blow to the Jets for the second week in a row. Nonetheless Newcastle’s defence continued to hold firm, even as the girls in green continued to create chances and push deeper and deeper towards the net.
A crunching challenge on Megan Oyster left her struggling to stand in the final minute of regular play and the US import was replaced by Clare Wheeler as a precaution. With Oyster being a rock in the back line of the Jets, they couldn’t afford to lose her for more than the final minutes of the match.
Canberra’s unbeaten run against the Newcastle Jets remained intact however with Adriana Jones just missing a chip on goal with the last touch of the game, both teams collected a single point from the match at Magic Park.
Next weekend sees the Jets travel away from home again, playing against Adelaide United on a televised match that must be a win to move back up within the top four spots in the ladder.
Newcastle Jets Squad: 1. Hannah Southwell (GK), 3. Georgia Yeoman-Dale, 4. Megan Oyster, 5. Caprice Dydasco, 6. Cassidy Davis, 7. Gema Simon (C), 9. Tara Andrews, 10. Rhali Dobson, 12. Chloe Lozargo, 17. Jenna Kingsley, 19. Hannah Bromley
Substitutes: 13. Adriana Jones, 15. Elizabeth Copus-Brown, 18. Clare Wheeler, 20. Claire Coelho (GK)
Canberra United Squad: 1. Lydia Williams (GK), 4. Kendall Fletcher, 6. Caitlin Munoz, 7. Ellie Brush, 8. Meg McLaughlin, 11. Michelle Heyman, 13. Nicole Begg (c), 14. Ashleigh Sykes, 15. Emma Checker, 17. Veronica Perez, 18. Rebecca Kiting
Substitutes: 3. Julia de Angelis, 5. Jenna McCormick, 16. Tegan Riding, 20. Melissa Maizels (GK)