Goals And Drama But No Winner

Newcastle Jets 3-3 Canberra United

By Ben Gilby (30/1/22)

Above: Newcastle Jets celebrate after Marie Dølvik put them ahead in the opening minute against Canberra United. Photo: Newcastle Jets.

Newcastle Jets and Canberra United shared six goals in a thriller at McDonald Jones Stadium, but the outcome does neither side any favours.

This is the time of the season when teams harbouring Finals hopes, in the Jets case, and those looking to move away from the lower-reaches of the table, in Canberra’s case, need maximum points. Ultimately, neither side’s aims progressed forward.

This was a game that exploded into life from the start. Jets’ Taren King started a move that ended with Marie Dølvik in possession out on the left wing. She cut in and Canberra youngster Mikayla Vidmar failed in an opportunity to tackle which allowed the Norwegian to progress and crash home a sensational effort into the far corner of the net with 50 seconds on the clock.

The home side remained on the front foot, with the visitors taking six minutes to offer anything from a shot-on-goal perspective.

Jets almost doubled their lead on 14 minutes when visiting defender Ally Haran dwelt on the ball just outside her own box and was dispossessed by Jemma House. House hit a shot that rolled narrowly wide of the far post.

However, within four minutes, Canberra was on level terms. Allira Toby found Hayley Taylor-Young on the right. The local product beat Kirsty Fenton and hit a low ball in which Hannah Brewer got a touch on. The ball fell kindly to Ash Sykes to hit first time into the net.

Chances came and went for both sides with Cassidy Davis blocking an opportunity for the visitors and Ash Brodigan also saw an effort go over. Dølvik was also prevented from getting a shot on target.

It was Canberra who came the closest to taking the lead in stoppage time at the end of the first half. Ally Haran sent a long free-kick down the left which was nodded on by Michelle Heyman to Toby. The former Sydney FC star hooked a ball through to Margot Robinne who took a touch away from Davis and crashed a shot in which came back off the bar right on the half-time whistle.

Newcastle responded after the interval by fashioning an early chance when Brodigan got a ball in which needed to be dealt with. Canberra had an opportunity of their own two minutes later with a cross-shot that went exceptionally close.

Above: Sophie Harding fires Newcastle Jets ahead once more. Photo: Newcastle Jets.

Seconds after that latter effort, it was the home side who re-took the lead. Dølvik’s long ball through found Sophie Harding in space to run into and fire home into the left-hand corner.

Jets had a chance to increase their lead five minutes later with Dolvik breaking through again, but Canberra goalkeeper Keeley Richards held the eventual shot.

Canberra made the home side pay for missing that opportunity when Haran’s free-kick came into the box and rebounded into Sykes’ path via Heyman, and the 30-year-old rolled a shot into the left-hand corner for her’s and Canberra’s second.

Within two minutes, the visitors took the lead in an incredible turn of events. Robinne curled into the near post from the right, and Toby was allowed to rise highest to direct a header into the net for her first goal in almost two years of W/A-League Women’s football.

Above: Alirra Toby celebrates her header which put Canberra United 3-2 up. Photo: Canberra United.

The drama continued with a third goal in the space of four minutes, and it was another goal from a player who has not been on the score sheet for some time. Sunny Franco, with only four previous goals in the competition from 51 matches, was played in along the left with a superb outside of the foot pass. Franco took a touch, and hit a great finish across Richards to level the scores.

Coelho then had to be alert to prevent Toby from adding to her tally on two occasions. With three minutes remaining, Franco had a chance to seal the win for Newcastle when she was played through on goal. A combination of a great defensive effort by Haran and a save by Richards denied the Queensland-born player a second.

There was one final chance and it went Canberra’s way. Chelsee Washington drove through the middle and unleashed an effort from around 25 yards which Coelho tipped over magnificently.

Teams: NEWCASTLE JETS (4-2-3-1): Coelho, Jaber, King, Brewer, Fenton, Eddy, Davis, Harding, Brodigan, Dølvik, House. Substitutes: Andrews, Andrews, Boric (GK), Franco, Gordon.

Scorers: Dølvik 1′, Harding 51′, Franco 63′.

CANBERRA UNITED (4-2-3-1): Richards, Ilijoski, Haran, Vidmar, Taylor-Young, Hughes, Washington, Toby, Robinne, Sykes, Heyman. Substitutes: Grove, Lincoln (GK), Maher, Middleton.

Scorers: Sykes 18′, 60′. Toby 62′.

Referee: Georgia Ghirardello.

Attendance: 2,546.

Artwork: Graphics by PW.

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