Jets still in finals race after victory over Wanderers
The Newcastle Jets have taken a big step towards finals football when they defeated fellow finals hopes Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0 in front of a bumper crowd of 923.A Tara Andrews goal late in the first half was the lone score in a match which saw both teams bomb a number of well-crafted chances.
It was a tense match with both teams starting the match three points out of the top four with a game and hand and it was Wanderers who started on top with Erica Halloway and Keelin Winters both presented with opportunities to score.
While Halloway turned into a defender and Winters’ effort was blocked, it was a great start by the home team but it wasn’t long for the Jets to take ascendency and they didn’t lose it for the rest of the half.
Tara Andrews was a menace for the Wanderers but she left her shooting boots at home with a number of clear misses: one of which was from the six yard line with half a goal to aim at.
It was the Jets on top but the action was end-to-end with Jets Georgia Yeoman-Dale and Rhali Dobson having efforts saved while Halloway again saw her efforts go unrewarded for the Wanderers.
Andrews finally got the breakthrough her performance deserved though as half time approached: getting in behind the defence and squeezing her shot just inside the far post for a 1-0 lead at the break.
With their season on the line, Wanderers burst out of the blocks at half time and spent the next 45 minutes wondering how they didn’t manage to penetrate the goal.
Ellie Carpenter and Jada Whyman protected the back for the Red & Black allowing the rest of the team to push forward to create chances.
Winters, Beard and Halloway all had multiple opportunities to equalise but a combination of impressive defensive blocks, poor finishing and sheet bad luck saw the Wanderers thwarted time and again.
Not that the Jets were without their chances in the second half either: Jada Whyman producing a fabulous two-handed diving save to deny Cassidy Dydasco what looked certain to be the match winner.
Regardless of the Wanderers’ domination of the second period, the Jets’ defence were not shaken, remaining calm and in control despite a barrage of attacking raids.
When full time came no-one could fault the effort of both teams nor deny that Jets were worthy victors.
Newcastle now lift to 12 competition points and sit outside the top four on goal difference only with three matches remaining. For the Wanderers, only a minor-miracle will see them playing post-season football.