Claire Coelho’s gargantuan performance between the sticks demanded attention as the Newcastle Jets were denied points at Lions Stadium, with a 69th-minute winner from Hollie Palmer damning the travelling side to a 2–1 defeat on Sunday.
The Hunter squad may have slipped to their fourth defeat in a half-dozen W-League games so far this season, but the team’s 23-year-old keeper certainly wasn’t to blame—Coelho faced 34 shots across the 90 minutes, 18 of which were on-target.
It seemed as if the Jets would be able to pull off a stunning smash-and-grab in Brisbane as Coelho kept them in the fight, and number nine Tara Andrews smashed home the lofted opener in the 22nd minute.
— Westfield W-League (@WLeague) December 29, 2019
The Roar were able to get on the board past Coelho after 18 failed attempts to level the score heading into the sheds, however, after the home team’s captain Clare Polkinghorne nodded home a header in the 41st minute.
Polkinghorne’s leveller, her first in nearly two full years, shattered Newcastle’s tenuous lead, but the deadlocked score continued on into the second half as Coelho continued to lead the Hunter side’s near-perfect rearguard defence.
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Brisbane would go on to find the winner though, through Palmer just ahead of the 70th, after Carson Pickett’s long-ranged attempt pinged back off the crossbar, leaving Coelho exposed long enough for Palmer to poke the ball home.
Just minutes after heading back out for the second stanza, Claire warded off a strong change from Matildas winger Hayley Raso, and smothered a one-on-one change as she came face to face with Tameka Yallop in the 51st minute.
The one-goal loss now leaves the Jets six points adrift of a finals place after seven weeks, after Brisbane hopped to a 10-point haul with their victory at Lions Stadium. Melbourne and Canberra sit between Craig Deans’ women and a playoff spot.
Newcastle’s faithful will also have to wait a little longer into 2020 to see the girls in action at home again, as the Jets fly south to Melbourne to face Victory on Sunday afternoon in Round 8. The match will begin at 4pm AEDT.