Newcastle Jets 5-1 Wellington Phoenix
By Kieran Yap (10/12/21)
Above: Elizabeth Eddy leaps on her team mates on a great night for Newcastle Jets. Photo: @NewcastleJetsFC.
Newcastle Jets put Wellington Phoenix to the sword in an impressive display in front of their home fans.
The game kicked off the second round of the Liberty A-League, Newcastle were coming off an honorable loss against Sydney FC and Wellington had a point from their debut game against The Wanderers.
The new kids in the league had impressed many observers in their first fixture. They were brave going forward and aggressive in possession. They took the Wanderers and the league by surprise in that initial outing. The question here would be if they could repeat the performance.
Newcastle is one of the most reliably enjoyable teams to watch. This season they boast some considerable depth. Club stalwart Tara Andrews now has more support. Norwegian striker Marie Dølvik Markussen has arrived to help out the number nine started up front with Sunny Franco and the Newcastle number nine.
There was also the small matter of Emily van Egmond returning to the club. On paper, The Jets have the firepower to beat anybody. The Phoenix youngsters would have their work cut out for them.
Despite the star studded attack, the first goal came from an unlikely but welcome source. Markussen had looked menacing from the start but it was youngster Kirsty Fenton who broke the deadlock.
Fenton was almost definitely trying to cross the ball, when it swung over Lily Alfeld and into the net. It was an unfortunate way for The Phoenix to concede but on the balance of play, Newcastle deserved the lead.
The Jets kept the pressure up and in the second half, Markussen had her first for the club.
The Norwegian striker intercepted a soft pass from the back and took a touch before slamming the ball home from the edge of the area. Suddenly, Wellington was 2-0 down.
Despite the scoreline or perhaps even because of it, they did not alter their adventurous play. Vice captain Kate Taylor was exceptional in the first round draw and continued her form here.
She was confident in possession and always trying to build from the back but the physicality and pressure of the Newcastle midfield left little opportunity for Wellington for create any chances.
The scoreline was even more ominous for Wellington as Newcastle’s top scorer from last season had yet to fire up. When she did it took only a few minutes to put the game out of reach for good.
Andrews is a proto typical number nine. Tall, strong with a venomous shot and quick feet, she is a threat from general play and lethal at set pieces.
Her first goal for 2021/2022 came from a corner kick. She lost her marker with ease and flicked a header perfectly into the corner of the net.
Minutes later came Andrews’ second and Newcastle’s fourth. The Jets won possession in the front third again and Markussen delayed to draw defenders before playing it to Andrews who took a touch and fired home from 18 yards.
With the game under control, Andrews, Franco and Markussen were substituted. Lauren Allan and Sophie Harding came on and combined for The Jets’ fifth.
Allan used her electric pace to race onto a lofted pass into the area. She hooked the ball across goal, wrong footing Alfeld and leaving Harding with the easiest of finishes.
Wellington continued playing positive, aggressive football and were rewarded for their endeavor. The first goal of the clubs history as a women’s team was scored in the 81st minute.
A Chloe Knott corner was urged toward goal by Taylor and Ava Pritchard was in the six-yard box to turn it in.
It was a positive end to a difficult day for Wellington. Newcastle would likely be unbothered by the late consolation goal. Their performance was nearly flawless.
The new recruits are in form, Elizabeth Eddy was instrumental in midfield then filling in at fullback and Markussen was dominant up front with Andrews.
The only sour note was an injury to Kirsty Fenton. She damaged her ankle and was carried off the field.
The Jets travel to face Western Sydney Wanderers in the next round. Wellington Phoenix have to regroup and prepare to face the premiers Sydney FC.
Ben Gilby heard Phoenix head coach Gemma Lewis speak to the media after the match. She first addressed her side’s first ever A-League Women goal and it’s scorer Ava Pritchard:
“I know you look at that result and the goal kind of goes missing a little bit but that’s still a little piece of history for us, that’s a little piece of history for her and I’m just proud that they kept pushing for the goal as well.”
Looking back at the performance itself, Lewis observed: “What we were aiming for was trying to use the platform of last week and build and improve off it and I think in moments we did, but not consistently enough.
“We made mistakes and we got punished for them and with the quality of players they have we have to expect that. We probably didn’t keep our foot on the gas as much as we would like and we gave them too much space. If you give those players too much space then it means they can dictate the game a little bit more and I think that’s what we started to see in some of the second-half.”
Lewis also believes Newcastle were much better than what they showed in their opening round defeat to Sydney FC.
“They definitely showed some quality at times. Even their performance from last week to this week they’ve definitely done some work and improved over this week and they showed that today. Some of their players really stepped up today and showed their quality.”
Teams: NEWCASTLE JETS (4-2-3-1): Boric, Fenton, Brewer, King, Eddy, Johnson, Davis, Markussen, van Egmond, Franco, Edwards. Substitutes: Allan, Brodigan, Coelho, Harding, House.
Scorers: Fenton 33′. Markussen 55′. Andrews 61′, 62′. Harding 73′.
WELLINGTON PHOENIX (4-3-3): Alfeld, Vosper, Taylor, Barry, McMeeken, Wisnewski, Gomez, Knott, Jasnos, Jale, Pritchard. Substitutes: Edwards (GK), Kramer, Martin, Walker, Whinham.
Scorer: Pritchard 81′.
Referee: Isabella Blaess.
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