Newcastle Jets 3-2 Wellington Phoenix
By Denise Duffy (24/3/23)
Above: The Jets swarm Cass Davis after her goal against Wellington Phoenix. Photo: Liberty A-League Women.
Cass Davis’ first-ever A-League Women goal in her 127th appearance, sealed a stunning victory for Newcastle Jets who twice came from behind to defeat Wellington Phoenix in the battle of the bottom two at Number Two Sportsground today.
Phoenix, determined to finish the season on a high note and show that they are a force to be reckoned with in the league met an equally motivated Newcastle Jets side in this huge came in the battle to avoid the wooden spoon.
The match was transitional, with frequent end-to-end play. The Phoenix were plagued by offsides calls in the first half.
In the 24th minute, a clever pass from Emma Rolston to Paige Satchell set up a quality shot and was deflected by Jets goalkeeper Georgina Worth. The resulting corner kick was taken by Michaela Foster who dropped it just outside the six-yard box on the head of Marissa Van der Meer who found the goal.
The Phoenix, who owned the flanks, again suffered from poor finishing in the final third. They also suffered back-to-back yellow cards – first to Kate Taylor for a challenge on Emily Roach and the other to Nix’s assistant coach. This impacted on bit of the rhythm that the Phoenix were creating.
In the 39th minute, Newcastle’s Cass Davis created a beautiful assist from the top of the box dropping it into Lauren Allan’s feet who volleyed it in for a goal. The clubs went into halftime even.
The first chance of the second period, just four minutes in fell to the visitors, as Robertson’s shot from distance hit the back of the net, but Rolston was called offside.
Within five minutes, the Nix hit the front again as Betsy Hassett assisted from top to a charging Paige Satchell on the right. The Phoenix would again believe they could win.
The lead would not be kept for long. In the 64th minute, after created multiple chances in the box, Ash Brodigan finally finished off a Kate Taylor deflection to level the scores once more.
The sense of desperation to go ahead overwhelmed any need for composure on both sides. In the 81st minute Davis’ strike sealed the win for the Jets. It was a stunning strike for her first-ever goal in the competition after so many years of fine service for her club. Cutting inside on the right-hand side of the box, Davis unleashed a powerful effort that flew high into the net. It was a superb goal, and also marked a winning end to Jets’ legend Tara Andrews’ final home game before retirement.
Despite taking the lead twice, the Nix were unable to hold onto it, and the Jets’ persistence paid off with three well-earned goals. The Phoenix will have to regroup and focus on their remaining games to finish the season. They stand five points adrift of Newcastle at the bottom of the ladder.
Reflecting on the match, Phoenix head coach Natalie Lawrence said: “This one hurts for everyone. We came up short. Again, we created a lot, the goalkeeper made some great saves, we gave away scrappy goals and we couldn’t handle the momentum shifts in the game.
“I think that’s one of the biggest reflections today, controlling and managing the game. We struggled when they changed momentum to deal with their level of intensity. When you go 2-1 up, you’re hoping this is your game. The girls are gutted.”
Lawrence still believes the Phoenix can avoid a second straight wooden spoon. “We always knew this game was the one that was in our hands to get off the bottom of the league. That was and still is a massive goal for us.
“We still have six points that we can get. We know that this one would have helped to achieve those goals and going ahead twice it’s one that hurts for sure. We’ve got to move on. We haven’t got time to dwell. Often the players say to me I wish I was playing tomorrow, and we very nearly are.
“We’ll feel sorry for ourselves today and then…move on to the next game against Adelaide.”
With a game in hand, Wellington will look to bounce back in their matches at Adelaide United and home to Finals chasing Melbourne Victory to again try to prove themselves. Meanwhile, the Newcastle Jets can celebrate a hard-earned victory going towards their remaining game of the season away to Sydney FC who will be going flat out for the Premiership.
Teams: NEWCASTLE JETS (4-3-3): Clough, Garnier, Davis, Agnew, Johnson, Allen, L. Allan, Stapleford, Roach, Worth, Tamplin. Substitutes: J. Allan, Coelho (GK), Walandouw, Brodigan, Andrews.
Scorers: L. Allan 39′, Brodigan 64’, Davis 81’.
WELLINGTON PHOENIX (4-3-3): Edwards, Foster, Taylor, Van der Meer, Barry, Knott, Hassett, Wisnewski, Robertson, Rolston, Satchell. Substitutes: Candy (GK), Pritchard, Lancaster, Clegg, Cicco.
Scorers: Van der Meer 25′, Satchell 54’.
Referee: Rebecca Durcau