Adelaide United took a step closer to Finals Football with an important victory at the Number Two Sportsground.
Newcastle Jets boss Ash Wilson made several changes from their last game with Hannah Brewer and Lauren Allan coming back into the team along with Chloe O’Brien and Panagiota Petratos who were promoted from the bench. Adelaide United welcomed back Chelsie Dawber who was missing last week due to illness and there was also a return for Sian Fryer-McLaren in goal.
Newcastle Jets began looking to make up for a disappointing performance at home to Melbourne Victory last weekend. Yet it was Adelaide who began on the front foot with Mallory Weber being stopped from getting a shot away eventually by Tessa Tamplin who tidied up well.
Newcastle replied when Allan played an inch perfect ball through to Tara Andrews who got a shot away which went narrowly wide of the right hand post.
The opening exchanges were hugely enjoyable with both teams on the attack. Weber almost put the visitors ahead when her turn and shot on the left of the box cannoned back off the post. Less than two minutes later they had better luck with a stunning goal. The returning Chelsie Dawber was found by Maria Jose Rojas and beat Gema Simon by curling a superb effort into the top right hand corner.
Yet the see-saw nature of the start was perfectly evidenced straight from the resulting kick-off as a long ball found Simon who pounced on some confusion by Dylan Holmes to curl a cross-shot into the net.
The “you score, we score” spell of three minutes continued when Holmes’ ball in wasn’t effectively dealt with by Tara King which allowed Emily Condon to smash the ball into the net.
Rojas then created some trickery along the left hand side which allowed Holmes to get an effort away.
With just over half an hour played, Charlotte Grant fouled Andrews on the right just outside of the box. Simon’s free kick found the head of Andrews but it was well wide. Sunny Franco had an effort shortly afterwards which was comfortably dealt with.
With three minutes of the half left, Simon’s free-kick found Andrews again and, with Matilda McNamara allowing her more space than you would expect, the header was poorly directed wide.
The half-time whistle brought to an end a hugely entertaining opening forty-five minutes with both sides looking strong and creative.
There were several tasty tangles at the start of the second half, first Sunny Franco threw Charlotte Grant to the floor and then Hannah Brewer put a tackle in on Maruschka Waldus which saw the Adelaide player go down on her collar bone. Both Adelaide players were fine to continue.
With this fiery opening to the second half behind us, matters calmed down. Newcastle had more of the ball from an attacking perspective over the first ten minutes. Their build up play was slick and easy on the eye, but never quite led to anything which bothered Sian Fryer McLaren in the Adelaide United goal.
Adelaide broke with just over twenty minutes left with Chelsie Dawber getting another dangerous shot away which Claire Coelho pushed out for a corner. The flag kick came in and Coelho saved her side again by tipping Waldus’ header onto the bar.
Petratos came so close to levelling for the Jets with a quarter of an hour to go when she took advantage of acres of space to let fly from outside the box with her effort narrowly clearing the crossbar.
Just afterwards, Andrews put in a teasing cross but Franco couldn’t quite direct her diving header on.
Frustratingly for Ash Wilson’s side, it was the story of much of their season – looking excellent coming forward at times but never quite able to make the most of their opportunities.
The second half eventually fizzled out with Adelaide United taking the points simply because they were more able to take the chances that came their way. For only the second time in their history, they have won five matches in a W-League season. Despite a really tough run of fixtures over the closing weeks of the season, it might just be enough to clinch a first ever spot in the finals.
Newcastle Jets: Coelho, Tamplin, Simon, King, Brewer, O’Brien, Franco, Davis, Petratos, Allan, Andrews. Substitutes: Simonsen (GK), Bass, Chronis, Harding, House.
Scorer: Simon 13.
Adelaide United: Fryer-McLaren, I.Hodgson, Grant, McNamara, Waldus, Holmes, Dawber, Hogg, Weber, Rojas, Condon. Substitutes: Grove (GK), E.Hodgson, Campagnale, Kirkby, Mullan.
Scorers: Dawber 12, Condon 15.
Referee: Lara Lee.
Photo: Newcastle Jets