The Jets have slipped seven points away from the finals scrap after two goals in fifteen minutes from Melbourne Victory damned the travelling Newcastle outfit to a 2–1 loss on the road, despite Gema Simon scoring her first goal of the season.
It was Victory skipper Natasha Dowie that popped up first in the clash with a header at AAMI Park, continuing her rampant form against the Jets—four in six now—to give Melbourne the 1–0 lead in the club’s home doubleheader.
US import winger Darian Jenkins doubled the lead for the finals contenders fifteen minutes later, scoring her first goal for her Melbourne side after transferring from the Seattle-based Reign FC in the 2019/20 offseason.
Jets stalwart defender Simon was able to pinch one back from Craig Deans’ side in the 61st minute, halving the deficit at AAMI Park, but Newcastle weren’t able to carry that momentum into meaningful points in their journey south.
— NEWCASTLE JETS FC ✈️ (@NewcastleJetsFC) January 5, 2020
The one-goal loss drops them to four defeats in their past five, with the win over Perth the only thing propping up the young squad’s form line heading into 2020. The Jets remain on five points, seven behind now-fourth-placed Victory.
Deans admitted the side may not have been “quite aggressive enough” when they weren’t in possession during the first half, and pointed to that dropped-back nature as one of the reasons the side conceded twice so quickly.
Read more recent news
- Newcastle’s oldest rival seems set to return to the W-League
- Sam Poolman’s Aspire Netball travels from strength to strength
- Barker, Stewart to rejoin two-time defending champions Waratahs
That’s not to say he was heaping the hurt on the girls, however. According to the Jets head coach, who spoke to Newcastle Herald after the match in Melbourne, he was taking full ownership of the mis-planned tactics of the first half.
“I take a little bit of the blame for that,” he said after the 2–1 loss.
“I wanted them to be more patient without the ball but we gave them too much time. We changed that at half-time which made a big difference. We were the much better of the two teams in the second half. We just lacked a little in the front third again.”
While the loss puts a dagger through most of Newcastle’s chances when it comes to finals this season—the club is now left with just six rounds to make up seven-point gap on the finals pack—there’s still “plenty of positives,” he said.
“At the moment we have two jobs,” he explained.
“One is to try and win games now. The other is to look beyond this year so that in two or three years we will have some really good players we have developed at the club.
“We probably needed to win today and we thought we could. We play Adelaide twice and have Perth to play again. We need to win those three and we play Victory again.
“If we play like we did in the second half, there is no reason why we can’t win that game. We have five games left and have to get points out of all of them.”
Newcastle now prepare for a short turnaround as they brace for a Friday evening game against Adelaide back in the Hunter. United currently sit dead-last in the W-League with one draw and six losses in their opening seven games.