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Jets, United share points in ALW classic


Newcastle and Canberra have been forced to share the points after an A-League Women’s clash worthy of match-of-the-season honours at McDonald Jones Stadium.

The sides combined for six goals, a host more chances and 90-plus minutes of exhilarating football that included three goals in three minutes, but eventually settled for a 3-all draw.

And, while the output was excellent, the draw suited neither side with the Jets missing a great chance to close the gap to the top four, while United still hasn’t won this season after seven outings.

In mere seconds the contest was pulsating, with Norwegian Jet Marie Dolvik blasting one home from outside the box for a 1-0 lead inside the first minute.

United forward Ash Sykes found a leveller on 18 minutes, however, as Hayley Taylor-Young cross bobbled off a defender and allowed the defender to jab an equaliser past Claire Coelho.

Having created the half’s best opportunities, Canberra almost had the lead right on half-time with a Margot Robinne volley clattering into the crossbar having given Coelho no chance to save it.

An already entertaining contest became downright thrilling in a second-half blitz, where two goals each in a 12-minute span took the game from 1-all to 3-all.

A classy ball from Dolvik allowed Sophie Harding to use her rapid pace and rolled a shot past United custodian Keeley Richards for 2-1, but Sykes doubled up on the hour, sweeping it home from inside the box after a fortuitous knockdown from Michelle Heyman.

And, United supporters had barely stopped celebrating when they had to start doing so again, with Allira Toby pinching her first United goal having glanced home a header on 62 minutes.

But, in a game that could barely get crazier, Newcastle’s Sunny Franco found room on the left wing just seconds later, cut inside and curled the ball past Richards for 3-all in the 63rd minute.

Franco found an acre through on goal and drew a save from Richards that saw her use her head to stop the effort on 87 minutes.

A Chelsee Washington strike from distance forced a ripping save from Coelho in stoppage time as neither side could break the deadlock.

An undermanned Canberra line-up featured just three outfield players on their bench, and captain Heyman said fighting against the odds for a point could spark their season.

“We’re just trying our hardest and everyone’s digging deep and working hard for each other,” she explained.

“That’s how we’re going to build now for the season because we’ve got nothing else to lose.

“I think one point for us is just good momentum to get going forward for next week.”

Jets substitute Tara Andrews felt her side had left two points on the table.

“There were lots of goals, I think we probably conceded a couple of easy ones,” she said.

“But we also had a lot of chances too, so it’s disappointing to not get the win.”

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