A sensational strike by Teigan Collister has helped the Newcastle Jets share the spoils with Melbourne City after a 1-1 draw in their Westfield W-League season opener on Sunday evening at No. 2 Sportsground.
Newcastle Jets coach Craig Deans handed a starting debut to Nicki Flannery and welcomed back Tessa Tamplin from Young Matildas duty as he named a strong lineup for the first match of the 2019/20 season, which also saw Jenna Kingsley making her 50th appearance for the club.
The home side started the match in positive fashion against a City side that boasted five current Matildas and were unlucky not to take an early lead as Kingsley and then Libby Copus-Brown each tested Lydia Williams in the City goal.
Jets custodian Claire Coelho had to react sharply twice in the space of three minutes to deny the visitors in the 18th and 21st minutes, but there was little she could do to stop City taking the lead in the 22nd minute when a familiar face opened the scoring for the visitors.
Former Jets favourite Emily van Egmond, making her debut for City, hit a thunderbolt against her hometown club from 25 yards that gave Coelho no chance in the Newcastle goal.
Despite the setback, the Jets continued to pressure the visitors and enjoyed a great spell before halftime with Kingsley, Tara Andrews, and Gema Simon all going close to levelling scores before the break.
Playing in front of a parochial crowd of 1,523, the Jets came out in search of the equaliser, but it was the visitors who almost double their advantage when Steph Catley’s long-range strike hit the post, but Jets drew level moments later thanks to an incredible strike by Teigan Collister in the 67th minute.
After City could only partially clear Kingley’s dangerous cross, the ball fell to Collister on the edge of the box, who took one touch to control before unleashing a ferocious right-footed volley past Willams to level the scores.
With both sides hoping to start the season with a victory, the game became a back-and-forth encounter and in the 72nd minute, both sides went agonisingly close to going ahead.
After Milica Mijatovic wasted a golden opportunity to put the visitors back in the lead, the Jets immediately headed down the other end and Libby Copus-Brown’s curling effort was parried away for a corner by Williams, before the ensuing corner saw Nikki Flannery’s close-range effort come back off the post and away to safety.
With less than ten minutes remaining in a pulsating encounter, Tara Andrews then went close when her lobbed effort beat Williams, but sailed just the wrong side of the post as the Jets pushed for the win.
There was almost a late twist in the tale in stoppage time as a 91st minute Emslie header hit the post for City, before Jenna Kingsley was denied a late winner by a full stretch Lydia Williams. Ultimately, both sides had to settle for a hard-earned point.
Our Westfield W-League side now turns their attentions to their Round 2 fixture against Western Sydney Wanderers next Friday afternoon at Bankwest Stadium.