The Newcastle Jets broke an eleven-year record against Perth Glory with their 2-1 victory at Dorrien Gardens over the weekend, claiming the club’s first-ever W-League win on the west coast in eleven attempts since 2008.
The tight victory, served up by an early goal for Nicki Flannery in the 23rd minute, and Tara Andrews immediately after the half-time break, gave Craig Deans’ side the shot in the arm they needed to surge up to fifth in the standings behind Canberra.
Flannery’s 23rd-minute strike was her first for the club, and set the tone for the Novocastrian outfit as they scrapped for the first three-point haul of the 2019/20 season with a team that has yet to collect a point this campaign.
Andrews played the opening role for the first goal, breaking through Perth’s defensive line before Teigan Collister was able to latch on to her through-ball and loft it into Flannery, who opened the scoring with a lovely left-footed finisher.
Newcastle’s number 12 had her say again in the second half, combining in a slick one-two passing play with Gema Simon mere moments after taking to the field in the second stanza, before she slammed it into the top of Glory’s net.
Celia Jimenez struck back just ahead of the hour-mark to halve the Jets’ advantage, and Andrews had a penalty (handball) saved just ten minutes before the final whistle, but both events didn’t change the outcome: Newcastle had won 2-1.
The one-goal advantage at Dorrien Gardens boosts the Jets right back into the mix for post-season football as the W-League passes its half-way point, and according to Deans, provides an all-important boost of confidence for the girls.
“The most important thing for the players is that they keep building on their self-confidence and belief, so it’s good for them,” he explained to the Herald post-match.
“It was important for us to get the win for our confidence but to get some points on the board and leave Perth and Adelaide, who haven’t got a point yet, down the bottom and to get away from them is important.
“We just need to keep trying to get as many points as we can. We’re going to have to win the majority of games and we’ve got some tough games coming up, so it was just nice to get the win and get some points, and stay in touch with the top four.”
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Deans also pointed to the win at Dorrien Gardens has a way for the Jets to remind the rest of the league just how capable they are, especially after coming so close to a result against Canberra and Western Sydney in recent weeks.
“We showed we’re more than capable, so from the players’ point of view it’s just positive reinforcement they’re actually good enough to compete at this level,” he said.
“I think mainly for the players to know that they’re good enough to compete with everyone with what we’ve got was the main thing because the big talking point for everyone outside of us is that we won’t be good enough to compete.
“They can do it every week because we’ve been competitive in every game and probably a little bit unlucky to have not got something out of the Canberra game as well.”
Newcastle’s 2-1 victory was also marred by a head knock for Libby Copus-Brown in the 65th minute that saw the dynamo midfielder hooked from the field, but Deans confirmed after the match the move was purely precautionary.
The Jets now prepare to face third-placed Sydney on Sunday, December 15, as they continue their hunt for a surprise place among the top-four finalists for the 2019/20 season. Kickoff is at 4pm at McDonald Jones Stadium.