Newcastle Jets 0-1 Sydney FC
By Kieran Yap (13/2/22)
Above: Princess Ibini celebrates after scoring the winning goal. Photo: Sydney FC.
In the last game of a massive weekend of football, Sydney FC travelled to play Newcastle Jets. The only team to score against the defending premiers named a full-strength side for the first time in weeks. Sydney FC welcomed back Remy Siemsen and Cortnee Vine to their attack.
Newcastle came into this game with a mathematical hope of making the finals, but they would need to win their remaining games and tests do not come much tougher than Sydney FC.
It was the league’s top side that had the first attack. Mackenzie Hawkesby lined up a strike from long range and Claire Coelho did very well to push over the bar.
From the resulting corner, Nat Tobin’s header missed the target, but it was a threatening start from Sydney FC.
Lucy Johnson had Newcastle’s first chance. A Sophie Harding cross was not cleared and Johnson pounced on the loose ball. She thrashed her right foot at the ball and hit it well, hard and low but it fizzed wide of the post.
It was an open, attacking game and Princess Ibini opened to scoring with a trademark strike.
She picked up the ball in midfield, exchanged passes with Siemsen, and then cut inside onto her right foot. From there the result seemed inevitable. This is Ibini’s favourite place to shoot from and she hit a brilliant shot into the back of the net. Coelho dived and stretched but could do nothing to stop the goal.
Marie Dølvik answered with a strong run on the left before crossing low into the box. Nobody was on hand to tap it home when any touch would have done.
The play continued end-to-end and Ibini again was the main danger. Her acceleration into the box earned Sydney FC a penalty kick. To the delight of the home crowd, Coelho was able to save Siemsen’s shot.
Ibini continued to threaten and created some space for herself on the wing. Her shot was optimistic but forced a save from Coelho who was proving hard to beat.
Newcastle were attacking without forging any clear chances but were leaving space in defence. Cortnee Vine tried to take advantage with a long-range strike but it whistled over the bar.
The speculative but impressive efforts continued after halftime. Nat Tobin hit the crossbar from just inside halfway. Coelho looked to have it covered but it underlined the threat that Sydney FC pose from anywhere on the field.
Rachel Lowe underlined this with a free-kick that forced the best from Coelho. The Jets goalkeeper made a diving athletic save to keep the score at 1-0.
Marie Dølvik looked the most dangerous for Newcastle. Her pace on the wing and willingness to shoot kept Sydney alert. A stepover and cut back made some space and her shot forced a strong save from Jada Whyman.
Tara Andrews was reinstated to the starting lineup, and her hold-up play was proving her value to the team. She would have been disappointed not to score when a lofted ball into the box fell to her feet.
She focussed on directing her volley and Whyman was able to save easily. It was the sort of chance she rarely misses, and Sydney hardly ever give up.
Sydney had control of the midfield and were able to create chances almost at will. Ibini continued to torment the defence and Rachel Lowe had a few attempts on goal. But the Jets defence were staying focussed, and Coelho was in excellent form.
As the match came to a close, Newcastle brought off both Marie Dølvik and Tara Andrews. It seemed that they were settling for a close loss and re-focussing on the next round of matches. However, Sophie Harding very nearly snatched an equalizer. Her half volley from the edge of the box brought a diving save from Whyman.
Then, three minutes into stoppage time at the end of the game the drama came. Newcastle earned a corner, their goalkeeper Claire Coelho came up for it and Taryn King’s shot deflected off her and bobbled into the net.
The Jets players and fans erupted into celebration but the referee spotted a foul. Coelho had jumped early and was judged to have fouled Whyman.
The goal was disallowed and an entertaining match ended in dramatic and slightly disappointing fashion.
It was a brave call from the referee, but the crowd went through the full range of emotions in the space of seconds.
Newcastle will remain outside of the top four with their chances dwindling. But as always, they played a very watchable, and entertaining style of football. They missed three very gettable chances on goal that they would have expected to bury.
Sydney FC continue toward an undefeated season. Princess Ibini’s had her best game for the season and are only a couple of wins from securing the premiership.
This game had quality, drama, and controversy at Number Two Sports Ground. It was an exhilarating (if slightly disappointing) end to an amazing round of football.
Speaking after the game, Sydney’s goalscorer Princess Ibini said: “I just saw the opportunity to take the shot tonight and there’s no secret to the strike, just practice and plenty of training.”
On the disallowed goal, she felt: “It’s ref’s decision, so whatever she says it’s her call, but I think she made the right decision.”
Sydney FC head coach Ante Juric felt his side was somewhat fortunate to escape with a win, regardless of the disallowed goal. “I thought it was a foul, but Newcastle actually did well, so we were probably lucky to get a win.”
Teams: NEWCASTLE JETS: Coehlo, Davis, Simon, Eddy, Andrews, Fenton, Johnson, Harding, Dølvik, King, Gordon. Substitutes: Jaber, Allan, Brodigan, House, Boric (GK).
SYDNEY FC: Whyman, Mclean, Green, Lowe, Siemsen, Vine, Tobin, Hawkesby, Ray, Rule, Ibini. Substitutes: Hunter, Satchell, Franco (GK), Stanic-Floody, Nash.
Scorer: Ibini 22′.
Referee: Georgia Ghiradello.