Pre-season W League favourites Brisbane Roar are still looking for their first win of the season after they racked up their fourth draw from four games this campaign.
Newcastle Jets were outstanding in the first half at McDonald Jones Stadium and will be frustrated that they were not able to build as big a lead on the scoreboard as they probably should have.
Jets started well with Gema Simon and Sunny Franco in promising form offensively.
Rhianna Pollicina robbed Matildas regular Clare Polkinghorne in the midfield and played in Franco. Her sensational strike hit the upper left hand post with Georgina Worth well beaten in the Brisbane goal. The rebound fell to Franco and this time her fierce follow up effort hit the base of other post.
The Roar responded shortly afterwards after they earned a free kick on the right hand edge of box. Emily Gielnik’s ball in was comfortably headed clear by Hannah Brewer. The ball quickly found its way to Isobel Dalton whose lofted effort was comfortably held by Claire Coelho in the Newcastle goal.
Jets’ creativity continued to cause Brisbane headaches. On the quarter hour mark, Pollicina found Lauren Allen. The Newcastle born striker played in Simon. Her cross was met by another ferocious effort by Franco which Worth did well to stop.
Less than a minute later, Allen played a high ball in which was met by the head of club record scorer Tara Andrews, and her effort bounced into the left hand corner of the net, the third consecutive W League game she has scored in.
Brisbane came close just past the match’s quarter mark. Jets defender Tara King miscued a pass which allowed Rosie Sutton to pounce and play in Gielnik who curled an effort just over the bar.
Gielnik had another opportunity when she got above Tessa Tamplin to get on the end of a great cross from Winonah Heatley, but the Matildas forward couldn’t get her header on target.
As the half moved towards its conclusion, the Roar continued to be more prominent than their hosts from an attacking perspective. It was clever game management in terms of allowing a patient passing game to take the sting out of the Jets.
Their efforts were not rewarded in front of goal and, consequently Newcastle created two great chances. First, Simon’s corner was met by a shot from Pollicina, but her effort was well wide. Shortly afterwards she had an even better opportunity. A glorious high curling ball in from Tessa Tamplin caused chaos in the Roar box. Worth went to punch clear. The ball fell to Pollicina once more, but again, it was over the bar.
Just before the half-time whistle, Rosie Sutton got an effort away for the Queenslanders which a diving Coelho held.
A relatively even opening to the second period saw both sides create opportunities. Tara Andrews played a ball to Lauren Andrews but the effort came to nothing. However, Brisbane were shortly to have better luck, nine minutes into the half.
Georgina Worth’s long goal kick after saving an effort from Sunny Franco, was nodded on by Rosie Sutton for Emily Gielnik to chase onto and confidently slot home for 1-1.
Brisbane dialled up the pressure and kept possession intelligently to further take the sting out of the Jets.
As the game entered its final quarter of an hour, Brisbane’s Leticia McKenna found Gielnik who returned the favour to the Western Australian before she was stopped by an outstanding tackle by Alisha Bass.
Jets had a glorious chance when substitute Sophie Harding, whose searing pace along the left flank was so impressive, was put through by Cassidy Davis against Roar keeper Georgina Worth, but the 21 year-old forward couldn’t get her feet sorted. The ball then came out to Sunny Franco who hit her shot wide of the right hand post.
With nine minutes left, Brisbane fashioned an opportunity when Rebekah Horsey found Mariel Hecher in the area and the Brazilian’s effort was palmed away by a diving Claire Coelho.
Olivia Chance had another effort for the Roar when she escaped from Taren King and fired a shot wide. Not long afterwards, Gielnik charged into the box and hit a low shot with the outside of the foot which Coelho did well to turn away for a corner.
It wasn’t all Brisbane in the final stages though. Tara Andrews combined with Franco who released Harding down the left. She played her way into box and turned Isobel Dalton but couldn’t find Jets striker Andrews who was well placed in the area.
Brisbane’s Kim Carroll was yellow carded for pulling down Andrews. Gema Simon’s free kick from the right hand side found the head of Andrews, but Worth gathered comfortably.
From the resulting clearance, Newcastle created the game’s final opportunity. And what an opportunity it was. Davis played a ball out to Harding who turned Roar defender Jamilla Rankin and smashed a superb effort which the diving Worth had to push away for a magnificent save.
Newcastle Jets’ head coach Ash Wilson expressed some frustration about her team’s inability to capitalise on a hugely impressive opening half: “We’ve got ourselves in a similar position to the game against Sydney last week. We need to manage the game and manage the moment. Brisbane are a great team and they have great players and we had to keep composed and win the game at all costs. We have set standards for first halves. We have to keep things simple and keep doing what we did in the first half.”
Brisbane Roar coach Jake Goodship reflected: “We needed more aggression in midfield after the first half. We got that and it worked.”
Newcastle Jets: Coelho, Tamplin, Simon, King, Brewer, Pollicina, Bass, Davis, Franco, Allan, Andrews. Substitutes: Simonsen (GK), Petratos, Chronis, Harding, House.
Scorer: Andrews 16.
Brisbane Roar: Worth, Heatley, Rankin, Polkinghorne, Carroll, Gorry, Hecher, Dalton, Gielnik, Sutton, McKenna. Substitutes: Aquino (GK), Chance, Horsey, Frier.
Scorer: Gielnik 54.
Referee: Isabella Libri.