Newcastle women make City work for it

By Corinthian (Paul Green):

Westfield W-League – Season 8 – 2015/2016 – Round 8
2:15pm, Sunday 13th December 2015 – Hunter Stadium, Broadmeadow

Newcastle United Jets FC 0
lost to
Melbourne City FC 1 (Beatrice Goad 44′)

Melbourne City’s womens’ team have been riding high at the top of the League, since the opening day, when they put six unanswered goals past a previously hard-to-beat Sydney FC and they’d strung together consecutive wins in every game since, conceding only three goals in their seven impressive outings.

Even the calls upon their Matildas’ players for international duty, requiring them to miss matches, had done them little harm, as they amassed 26 goals in accumulating an impeccable 21 points from their outings to date.

Newcastle Jets, by contrast, while not the worst of the teams in the League, were not expected to trouble the women representing the club formerly known as Melbourne Heart, although as this is the visitors’ first season in the Women’s competition, they had never paraded under that original name.

But they do play their games, at least those on their travels, in the familiar colours of the Red and White stripes of the Heart, a stirring sight for traditionalists.

The Jets had lost only one of their own seven fixtures, but while they had conceded only three goals, scoring them had been quite another matter.

In their most recent match they’d managed to beat Brisbane Roar 4-0 on the road, but apart from a 1-0 win against Melbourne Victory down South, they could manage only draws in their other games, one more draw escaping them at nearby Wanderers Oval, Magic Park, when Western Sydney Wanderers snatched a 2-1 win from them in stoppage-time earlier in the campaign.

Here the Newcastle side went about their business fearlessly, perhaps not attacking with any great abandon, but certainly not allowing the reputation of their well-credentialled adversaries to intimidate them.

Were it not for a momentary lapse of concentration, just before half-time and an extremely well-drilled City defence to contend with, throughout the game, they could well have taken a point from this match too.

Having said that, they did survive a scare after only six minutes, when Larissa Crummer had the ball in their net at a fast-filling Hunter Stadium, late-arriving and many highly patient and enthusiastic fans relieved to see that potential goal ruled out for an infringement.

A save at the near-post, two minutes later, also denied City an early lead, this time Hanna Southwell getting down well to save from Stephanie Catley.

The Melbourne side threw players forward constantly and with their attacking mid-fielders their main weapon, they certainly had plenty of ammunition.

They won a few free-kicks and corners, but the Jets were ‘all hands to the pump’ to keep them at bay.

Crummer, again, watched her 17th minute shot blocked at the base of the upright, with Catley seeing the same thing happen to her a minute later.

Perhaps not every Newcastle player was behind the ball, as might otherwise appear from this account, but being wary of Melbourne City is hardly a negative sentiment, opportunities to attack in the red and blue colours of the Jets only making themselves apparent infrequently.

Newcastle did manage one strong raid, though, with hard-working striker, Tara Andrews leading the line well and Adriana Jones and Jenna Kingsley offering strong support.

Kingsley, it was, who went closest for the Jets, as the crowd continued to build ahead of the A League game that was scheduled to begin an hour after this one had finished.

An estimated thousand or so fans were around when Kingsley took a crisp pass from the left, after a swift break down that flank, only to sky her close-range attempt on goal.

The Jets’ defensive work had been vigilant up until the 44th minute, ever watchful and doggedly cutting off supply from the free-running Lisa De Vanna, the gifted Kim Little and City’s new captain, import Jessica Fishlock.

Their winning goal, as it was to prove, came from an unlikely source, teenager Beatrice Goad, a substitute in many of her team’s matches, but given a start here.

Having operated on the flank for the most part, hitherto, Goad occupied a more central position when receiving an excellent squared pass towards the centre of the penalty-area, about 15 yards out.

The provider was Kim Little, the tireless toiler, who’d cut in smartly from the right, escaping the clutches of the Jets’ defenders, who’d seen her playing in a deeper, more central position to that point.

With Goad also wandering into an unfamiliar central spot, the Jets’ defence appeared bamboozled and took their eye off the ball for just long enough for the City team to score.

Goad struck the ball well, low, but with the aid of a slight deflection that meant keeper Southwell looked well-beaten, when perhaps she might have had the shot covered had the ball not deviated slightly from its initial trajectory.

Newcastle had to come out and attack more purposefully after the break, as they chased the game, so the second-half was a closer and more open affair, lots of hard running from the Jets, but also plenty of determined defence and midfield effort to deny Melbourne a second goal, the first time they’d not managed that in any of their previous matches.

Southwell continued to play well, saving nicely from De Vanna, who played with a roving commission, in an effort to gain maximum benefit from her mobility and reserves of sheer gusto.

Little really tested Southwell in the 54th minute, from a well-struck, low free-kick, 30 yards out, the keeper managing to parry the effort, before the defenders scrambled the ball to safety.

A big move, two minutes later, had De Vanna releasing Catley on the left, the latter producing a cross that was met by Crummer, whose volley was well taken by the keeper.

It was cut-and-thrust for the remainder of the game, as the vast Hunter Stadium began to fill even further, officially 3,292 spectators being in the arena by the time this match drew to its conclusion.

Another Melbourne City win, then, but no disgrace for Newcastle to go down to the City slickers, after a performance that will surely encourage them to open up more in future and add to their slender tally of two wins, before much longer.

They’ll be back at Hunter Stadium again on Sunday 3rd January, when they attempt to complete the double against Melbourne Victory, but they also have another game at adjacent Magic Park, in two week’s time against Adelaide United, a team they drew with 1-1 in late November, in South Australia.

As a curtain-raiser to the A League fixture it was a great advertisement for the women’s game and a growing number of local fans is likely to be back for more, after this worthwhile exercise.

Match details
Crowd:  Official 3,292 (counted at the end of the game)

Newcastle Jets FC: 1. Hannah SOUTHWELL (gk); 7 Gema SIMON (C), 19 Hannah BROMLEY, 4 Megan OYSTER, 3 Georgia YEOMAN-DALE; 5 Caprice DYDASCO, 6 Cassidy DAVIS,  12 Chloe LOGARZO  (8 Kobie FERGUSON 84); 17 Jenna KINGSLEY (18 Claire WHEELER 65), 13 Adriana JONES (16 Siahn BOZANIC 75), 9 Tara ANDREW
Subs not used:  20. Claire COELHO (rgk)

Yellow cards: Nil; Red cards: Nil

Coach: Craig Deans

Melbourne City FC: 1. Brianna DAVEY (gk);  4 Jennifer BEATTIE, 5. Laura ALLEWAY, 15. Amy JACKSON; 16. Beatrice GOAD, 10 Jessica FISHLOCK (c), 6. Aivi LUIK, 7. Stephanie CATLEY; 8 Kim LITTLE;  9. Larissa CRUMMER (17. Marianna TABAIN 80), 11. Lisa De VANNA
Sub not used: 20. Trudy BURKE (rgk), 3. Alexandra CHIDIAC

Yellow cards: Nil; Red card: Nil

Coach: Joe Montemurro

Referee:   Rachel Mitchenson 9/10
Assistants: Eleanor Hayes and Lily David;  Fourth Official: Trent Nash

Points and ratings

Players noted: Megan Oyster (NJ), Gema Simon (NJ), Chloe Logarzo (NJ); Aivi Luik (MC), Kim Little (MC), Jessica Fishlock (MC)

Referee 9/10
Match 8/10
Pitch 8/10

By Corinthian