Newcastle have kick-started their W-League campaign with a well-earned point against Emily van Egmond’s Melbourne City, battling back from a wonder-strike from the former Jets captain to secure a draw at No.2 Sportsground.
After leaving behind the red and blue of her hometown for the sky blue of Melbourne City, Matildas star Van Egmond delivered another cruel blow to the team with the first goal of the season against them on Sunday afternoon.
It was a blow for Claire Coelho between the sticks too, after the Newcastle keeper had pulled out two fantastic saves in three minutes just ahead of the 20-minute mark to keep the home side level in their opening fixture.
Jenna Kingsley, Tara Andrews, and Gema Simon all nearly struck back to cancel Van Egmond’s strike, while City had the chance to double their lead through another long-range barrage from Steph Catley, but the post denied the Melbourne star.
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Teigan Collister was next to have her say, after City barely cleared a cross from Kingsley in the 67th minute. The ball dropped to Collister’s feet, who tipped it on slightly before unleashing it into the back of Melbourne’s net to level the score.
Neither side could find an advantage in the final quarter of the match, though Milica Mijatovic came close for Melbourne. Libby Copus-Brown, Nikki Flannery, and sharpshooter Andrews all put in their own bid for the three points, to no avail.
City nearly broke the hearts of more than 1,500 Newcastle fans who had turned out at the inner-city venue despite storm clouds threatening to spoil the Sunday evening weather, after Emslie nearly powered a header home in the 91st minute.
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Coelho tipped the shot onto the post, however, and gave Kingsley a chance at the other end moments later. City’s Lydia Williams answered in kind, keeping the scores locked at 1-1, and sharing the points in the W-League’s last game of the first round.
Next weekend, the Jets set off on the road for the first time this season. The squad will face Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday afternoon at Bankwest Stadium, and look to collect their first three-point haul of 2019/20.