The Newcastle Jets had many reasons to celebrate at No. 2 Sportsground on Sunday.
Not only did the A-League Women’s (ALW) side claim an important 3-2 victory over the Wellington Phoenix on 4 February, but Ryan Campbell secured his first win as head coach and local young gun Zoe Karipidis landed her maiden goal in senior company.
Heading into the clash without Claudia Cicco, Gema Simon and Melina Ayres, it was a fabulous result for the Newcastle squad, who avoided a third consecutive loss.
However, it appeared gloomy early on when Wellington struck in the fourth minute, via some sloppy defence by the hosts.
Mariana Speckmaier avoided a couple of defenders to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The Jets finally shrugged off their slow start.
MelindaJ Barbieri’s right-footed shot attempt went close, while Lauren Allan’s header sailed just wide of the mark.
Then, in the 27th minute, skipper Cass Davis passed the ball across the face of the goal-mouth but it evaded the feet of star striker Sarina Bolden.
Their luck changed soon after when Karipidis landed a screamer from more than 40 yards out to level it up at 1-all, much to the 18-year-old’s delight.
Newcastle looked set to increase its margin, however a brilliant mid-air save by Phoenix keeper Brianna Edwards denied the home side.
She then stopped a Davis rocket in the 44th minute.
At the other end of the field, Jets goalie Izzy Nino did likewise to rebuff Annalie Longo as the combatants went to the break all square.
Newcastle began the second period with purpose and hit the front in the 50th minute.
Libby Copus-Brown smashed a sizzling right-footer past Edwards in the top left corner to secure a 2-1 advantage.
Almost immediately, Bolden hit the woodwork.
That miss proved costly as Wellington duo Macey Fraser combined with Isabel Cox to draw level again at 2-all.
The Phoenix almost hit the front, but Nino prevented Longo from scoring.
Thankfully, the Jets put the issue beyond doubt.
In the 65th minute, it was the trusty boot of Bolden, who broke the deadlock, pushing Newcastle ahead 3-2.
The Phoenix failed to surrender, lifting their intensity, however Nino and her fellow defenders kept their cool.
Apart from a few anxious moments in the dying stages, as well as a couple of yellow cards, Bolden, Lara Gooch and Emma Dundas continued to pour pressure on Edwards until the final whistle.
For more sports stories:
- REAL NRL: Pickers appoint Grigg as inaugural women’s coach
- ALM: Jets jubilant after sharing points with high-flying Victory
- NRL: Knights already celebrating major milestone in 2024
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