A famous pair of brothers once proclaimed ‘everywhere you go, always take the weather with you’ and the Newcastle Jets duly obliged by bringing some much-needed rain and lightning to Wagga Wagga for Sunday’s pre-season friendly with Sydney FC at McDonalds Park.
With more rain falling on Sunday than in the past 3 months combined, kick-off was pushed back almost an hour as both sides waited for conditions to improve.
In their first hit-out against Westfield W-League opposition in nine months, Craig Deans handed starting debuts to new signings Lauren Allan, Annabel Martin, and Nicki Flannery.
All three impressed early as the Jets started the game on the front foot, but it was the visitors who took the lead against the run of play after just 14 minutes as Mackenzie Hawkesby finished off an incisive counter-attack to give Sydney a 1-0 lead.
Despite going behind, Allan was looking menacing down the left flank and Flannery went close to levelling the scores twice in three minutes. Cassidy Davis went even closer in the 23rd minute when Trudy Burke in goals parried her shot onto the post after a corner was only partially cleared.
With rain continuing to fall, it was a difficult day for the goalkeepers and Hawkesby doubled Sydney’s lead after Claire Coelho couldn’t hang on to a well-hit and dangerous cross in the 37th minute.
Newcastle halved the deficit on the stroke of halftime when Libby Copus-Brown’s inswinging cross caused problems for Burke, and the Sydney shot-stopper could not the keep the ball out of her net whilst under pressure from several Jets players.
Trailing at halftime, the Jets almost fell further behind in the opening moments of the second period but Coelho was alert and made a sharp save to deny Siemsen extending the lead.
The weather began to clear as the half wore on, and the Jets tried valiantly to push for an equaliser. Tiegan Collister and Tara Andrews both tried their luck from distance however, neither could test Burke in the Sydney goal.
Craig Deans took the opportunity to blood some of his younger talent in the second half, emptying his bench and giving Kirsty Fenton, Molly Arens and Kiamie Lathan some valuable playing experience in the top grade.
The changes seemed to disrupt the flow of the second half, and neither side was able to add to the half-time score with Sydney hanging on to claim a 2-1 victory in a rain-soaked afternoon in Wagga Wagga.
Our Westfield W-League side now turns their attention to their season opener with Melbourne City at No. 2 Sportsground on Sunday 17 November.
Newcastle Jets: 20.Claire COELHO (gk), 2.Hannah BREWER, 4.Libby COPUS-BROWN, 6.Cassidy DAVIS, 9.Nicki FLANNERY, 12.Tara ANDREWS, 14.Lauren ALLAN, 17.Jenna KINGSLEY, 18.Clare WHEELER, 23.Annabel MARTIN, 25.Teigan COLLISTER
Subs: 5.Kirsty FENTON (youth), 7.Gema SIMON, 8.Molly ARENS (youth), 19.Pana PETRATOS, 21.Kiarnie LATHAM (youth), 26.Nicole SIMONSEN (gk), 31.Paige KINGSTON-HOGG