PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
The Newcastle Jets Women once again struggled to make their chances count at home in a disappointing 1-1 draw with bottom-placed Melbourne Victory.
On a wet but muggy afternoon in front of 1,740 fans at McDonald Jones Stadium, it was the Victory who started the stronger with former English International Natasha Dowie causing all sorts of problems for the Newcastle defence. Dowie had a great chance to open the scoring in the 13th minute when she went one-on-one with Jets keeper Katelyn Rowland, but the American import forced the shot wide.
Five minutes later though and Dowie wouldn’t be denied. Victory’s striker cut down the right edge of the box, rounded Rowland and had an open net from a very tight angle on the right. She placed her shot towards the back post, but straight at Jets defender Megan Oyster. Unfortunately for Oyster, she had an air swing as she attempted the clear the shot and the ball nestled just inside the far post to give Melbourne a deserved lead.
Newcastle looked lethargic and lacked energy in a poor first half showing, with their best chance coming from a long-range effort from Captain Gema Simon who unleashed from well outside the eighteen-yard box with her left boot. The shot fizzed over the crossbar just above the top right corner.
Down 1-0 at the break, Jets coach Craig Deans’ half-time talk seemed to inspire his side as they came out all guns blazing in the second half. Grace McIntyre entered the fray replacing Jenna Kingsley and she caused plenty of headaches down the Jets right edge, whipping in numerous crosses which striker Jen Hoy couldn’t get on the end of.
In the 49th minute, a pinpoint pass from midfielder Arin Gilliland to Chicago Red Stars teammate Hoy down the left side of the box should have resulted in a goal as Hoy went one-on-one with Victory keeper Beth Mason-Jones. But, Hoy couldn’t keep her shot on target.
In the 84th minute though Hoy would make the Victory pay, this time after a chipped pass from defender Cass Davis, Hoy charged down the right edge of the box, cutting her shot across Mason-Jones and into the bottom left corner, ruffling the exact part of the net which Dowie’s shot had earlier, for her fourth goal in her last four matches.
The Jets weren’t going to play for the draw and pushed forward looking for the winner with defenders Megan Oyster and Gema Simon streaming forward and it was Oyster with the golden chance. She was played in down the right edge of the box and with only Mason-Jones to beat, Oyster fired her shot straight into the keepers’ hands.
That was the final chance for the home side, as the match finished 1-1.
The draw means the Jets stay in sixth on seven points, three points off a spot in the top four, while Victory stays last on three points.