Newcastle fight back for draw with Sydney

by Stephen Webb

Westfield W-League Season 2017-18, Round 10, Wednesday, January 3, 2017, 5.20 pm

Sydney FC Women 2 (Kylie Ledbrook 20′, Princess Ibini 27′) drew with Newcastle Jets Women 2 (Emily van Egmond 35′, Gema Simon 89′)

Sydney FC let a two goal lead slip to a more determined Newcastle Jets outfit on Wednesday evening.

More clinical finishing would have seen the home side establish an even more comfortable lead but Newcastle were strong and probably deserved their point.

Sydney’s two goals took me (behind a camera) and Newcastle’s keeper Britt Eckerstrom by surprise: Kylie Ledbrook’s long-distance drive across goal into the bottom right corner seemed to have no chance and Princess Ibini-Isei arrived out of nowhere to leap at the left post and meet Caitlin Foord’s perfectly flighted cross.

Newcastle, however, seemed likely to get back into the game with Sydney content to sit on their lead rather than maintain the urgency required to keep Newcastle on the back foot.

The first ten minutes were all Newcastle’s. Sydney attempted to play passing football but Newcastle would have none of it, allowing Sydney no room. In the 11th minute Jenna Kingsley headed over from a corner.

Then, for Sydney, Lisa De Vanna got in a couple of crosses from the left and won a free kick.

Sydney looked better once they got the ball out of their own half and in the 17th minute Teresa Polias played wide to Georgia Yeoman-Dale on the right, Yeoman-Dale found Kylie Ledbrook inside and Ledbrook set up De Vanna, who nearly curled the ball into the top left corner.

Ledbrook’s goal came courtesy of a square pass from Caitlin Foord.

Sydney were now keeping the ball better — except when released by keeper Aubrey Bledsoe, who had trouble finding her range.

In the 25th minute Katherine Stengel shot high from the right side of the box.

Foord’s long run before picking out Ibini-Isei for Sydney’s second goal started with a break by Polias.

De Vanna’s passing was leaving a bit to be desired.

Newcastle’s first goal came through a penalty awarded for a barge in the back. Emily van Egmond sent Bledsoe the wrong way.

Bledsoe was soon the hero, making a good double save, first from Victoria Huster and then Stengel on the rebound.

Misfortune for Sydney and disaster for Amy Harrison came in the 38th minute when the gifted midfielder had to be replaced after damaging the ACL and MCL in her left knee, only 12 months after the Matilda returned from a long lay-off following a serious injury to her right knee.

De Vanna put Foord through, but the striker was offside.

By halftime Newcastle had regained their organisation and the game was balanced.

The second half began with Sydney disorganised and getting themselves into trouble. Newcastle applied the pressure and a header was glanced wide.

Polias was doing a great job spoiling van Egmond, Foord was showing her class with some nice touches but Leena Khamis, Harrison’s replacement, was struggling to settle.

Polias launched De Vanna down the right. De Vanna attempted to set up Foord at the left post but Foord couldn’t make contact with the ball.

De Vanna’s speed surprised Britt Eckerstrom and the keeper’s kick rebounded off De Vanna to Ibini, who should have made more of the opportunity with Eckerstrom off her line.

Jenna Kingsley shot into Sydney’s side netting and, just when I was thinking Khamis was having a dog, she hit a wonderful shot that needed an equally wonderful save from Eckerstrom at the top right corner.

In the 80th minute Bledsoe shone in Sydney’s goal with a double save, first from long range and then denying van Egmond on the rebound.

Eckerstrom saved a close range shot from Foord and then dived to stop a shot from Ledbrook from outside the box. In the 86th minute Khamis headed wide from a corner.

Newcastle equalised when substitute Gema Simon pounced on a long ball into the box that cleared the defence and bounced in front of Bledsoe.

Then came an exciting finish as Sydney threw everything at Newcastle to regain the lead.

Foord missed a shot to the left of goal and Sydney substitute Remy Siemsen headed very wide on a ball into the box from Ibini.

Sydney might have had a chance in stoppage time but Ledbrook wasted her free kick.

The final opportunity for a winner came with a strong run from Foord onto a long ball but her delivery was askew.

Sydney will be kicking themselves but Newcastle were solid and remain a point above Sydney and four points behind competition leaders Brisbane Roar.

Match stats

Sydney FC Women 2 (Kylie Ledbrook 20′, Princess Ibini 27′) drew with Newcastle Jets Women 2 (Emily van Egmond 35′, Gema Simon 89′)

Sydney FC
29. Aubrey Bledsoe (gk), 2. Teresa Polias, 4. Elizabeth Ralston, 8. Amy Harrison (19. Leena Khamis 39′), 9. Caitlin Foord, 10. Kylie Ledbrook, 11. Lisa De Vanna (3. Remy Siemsen 81′), 13. Georgia Yeoman-Dale, 15. Caitlin Cooper, 16. Emily Sonnett, 20. Princess Ibini (12. Teigen Allen 90+3′)
Substitute not used: 1. Sham Khamis (gk)
Yellow cards: none
Red cards: none

Newcastle Jets
28. Britt Eckerstrom (gk), 2. Hannah Brewer, 3. Natasha Prior, 5. Arin Gilliland, 6. Cassidy Davis, 9. Katie Stengel, 10. Emily van Egmond, 16. Nikola Orgill (7. Gema Simon 65′), 17. Jenna Kingsley, 18. Clare Wheeler (11. Cortnee Vine 84′), 23. Tori Huster
Substitutes not used: 20. Claire Coelho (gk), 8. Sophie Nenadovic
Yellow cards: Emily van Egmond, Cassidy Davis, Tori Huster
Red cards: none

Match: 8/10

Pitch: 9/10

Referee: Lara Lee 8/10
Assistant referees: Sarah Ho and Avrol Beecham
Fourth official: Katie Patterson

Best players:
3.Teresa Polias (Sydney FC)
2. Caitlin Foord (Sydney FC)
1. Britt Eckerstrom (Newcastle Jets)

Photos: on Facebook and https://tinyurl.com/y8ddrd9k