It was a strange afternoon for our Westfield W-League side as they went down 1-0 to Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday.
In the Club’s first outing at the brand new Bankwest Stadium, Craig Deans named an unchanged line-up from the one which had drawn 1-1 with Melbourne City last Sunday night.
Amy Harrison, one of the Westfield Matildas representatives amongst the Western Sydney Wanderers ranks, scored from the spot after a dubious penalty was awarded just on the hour mark for the game’s only goal.
The track was wet at kick-off, with storms rolling in from the west looking like they could disrupt proceedings as chances at both ends marked the opening stages.
On the 28th minute, the storms did exactly what they’d promised as lightning strikes close to the ground meant the decision was taken to delay the match for half an hour.
Upon resumption of play some hour after the game had originally kicked off, Western Sydney thought they’d opened the scoring when Lynn Williams tapped home at the back post – but the linesman’s flag was up. The decision was debatable, but it worked in Newcastle’s favour.
There was a big chance close to the break when a Libby Copus-Brown free-kick was lifted in and Jenna Kingsley almost got a touch which would have sent the ball goalbound, but a Wanderers intervention forced a corner instead.
It took 15 minutes in the second half for the Wanderers to open the scoring, with a goal which changed the complexion of the match as Newcastle fired up following what they felt was an egregious penalty decision.
Tara Andrews had a chance on around 70 minutes as she turned her marker and unleashed a shot which had Abby Smith scrambling, but it was just wide.
A flashpoint erupted with the clock winding down when Smith came out to clear a ball which Teigan Collister was chasing, and followed through collecting a piece of the Jets attacker.
Left writhing on the floor in considerable pain, play was left to go on before being stopped for Collister to receive treatment.
In the break, Craig Deans was shown a yellow card for protesting the decision to not award Newcastle a free kick for the tackle. Immediately following this, Smith was also shown a yellow card for her follow-through and Newcastle awarded a free-kick some 60 metres away from where the play had been stopped.
However, Newcastle were unable to capitalise on the opportunity as the Wanderers slowed down the play in order to protect their lead – successfully – denying the Jets a point in Parramatta.