Women’s Match Review: Wellington Phoenix vs. Newcastle Jets

A classy Newcastle Jets side have been too good for the Wellington Phoenix in their second Liberty A-League women’s match.

The Jets have beaten the Phoenix 5-1 at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, after leading 1-0 at halftime.

While Wellington conceded five goals, three of which came in an nine minute spell in the second-half, they finished brightly and hard-working forward Ava Pritchard etched her name into the club’s record books by scoring the team’s maiden goal.

Head coach Gemma Lewis says she’s really happy for Pritchard.

“I know you look at that result and the goal kind of goes missing a little bit but that’s still a little piece of history for us, that’s a little piece of history for her and I’m just proud that they kept pushing for the goal as well,” Lewis told media post-match.

The Phoenix’s high press which had troubled Western Sydney Wanderers last week in their history-making 0-0 draw wasn’t as effective against the Jets.

“What we were aiming for was trying to use the platform of last week and build and improve off it and I think in moments we did, but not consistently enough.

“We made mistakes and we got punished for them and with the quality of players they have we have to expect that.

“We probably didn’t keep our foot on the gas as much as we would like and we gave them too much space.

“If you give those players too much space then it means they can dictate the game a little bit more and I think that’s what we started to see in some of the second-half.”

Lewis also believes Newcastle were much better than what they showed in their opening round defeat to Sydney FC.

“They definitely showed some quality at times. Even their performance from last week to this week they’ve definitely done some work and improved over this week and they showed that today.

“Some of their players really stepped up today and showed their quality.”

One of those players was Matildas star Emily van Egmond, who showed her class throughout in her return to the Jets, pulling the strings from midfield.

Newcastle nodded wide from a couple of van Egmond’s  early pinpoint deliveries but despite having the better of possession they didn’t manage to test Lily Alfeld in the Phoenix goal in the first half an hour.

The Jets broke the deadlock in fortuitous fashion in the 33rd minute, when left back Kirsty Fenton chipped Alfeld with what appeared to be a miss-hit cross.

Wellington’s captain ensured the Phoenix were just a goal behind at halftime when she made a sharp save to deny Norwegian forward Marie Dølvik at her near post.

Dølvik scored Newcastle’s second 10 minutes into the second-half, cutting out a wayward pass and then beating Alfeld from distance.

Van Egmond rattled the Phoenix crossbar from a free-kick moments soon after before Jets striker Tara Andrews scored twice in a couple of minutes. Andrews nodded home a van Egmond corner for her first in the 61st minute and little over 60 seconds later precisely guided a shot into the bottom right corner of the Wellington goal.

The Phoenix kept fighting and midfielder Grace Wisnewski came close to pulling a goal back for Wellington in the 71st minute, when she was denied by Newcastle ‘keeper Georgia Boric from close range after some good lead-up play from Nix substitutes Alyssa Whinham and Talitha Kramer.

Shortly after though it was the Jets’ substitutes Lauren Allan and Sophie Harding who combined to scored the hosts’ fifth.

But it was the Phoenix who would have the final say, with Pritchard, back to goal, guiding the ball beyond Boric, after centre back Kate Taylor found her from a corner.

The Wellington Phoenix’s next test in the Liberty A-League women’s season is against Sydney FC at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Sydney on Sunday week.

Wellington Phoenix:
1. Lily ALFELD (gk) (c), 2. Saskia VOSPER, 3. Kate TAYLOR, 4. Mackenzie BARRY, 5. Jordan JASNOS (14. Talitha KRAMER 63rd min), 6. Isabel GOMEZ (13. Te Reremoana WALKER 79th min), 7. Chloe KNOTT, 8. Grace WISNEWSKI, 9. Ava PRITCHARD, 10. Grace JALE (20. Alyssa WHINHAM 70th min), 15. Zoe MCMEEKEN (18. Annabel MARTIN 79th min)
Unused substitutes: 12. Brianna EDWARDS (gk)

Newcastle Jets: 36. Georgia BORIC (gk), 2. Hannah BREWER, 6. Cassidy DAVIS (c), 8. Elizabeth EDDY, 9. Tara ANDREWS (3. Jemma HOUSE 68th min) 10. Emily VAN EGMOND, 12. Kirsty FENTON (19. Ashlee BRODIGAN 56th min), 14. Lucy JOHNSTON, 16. Sunny FRANCO (13. Lauren ALLAN 68th min), 17. Marie DOLVIK (15. Sophie HARDING 72nd min), 18. Taren KING
Unused substitutes: 20. Claire COELHO (gk)

Kirsty FENTON (Newcastle Jets) – 33rd min
Marie DOLVIK (Newcastle Jets) – 55th min
Tara ANDREWS (Newcastle Jets) – 61st & 63rd mins
Sophie HARDING (Newcastle Jets) – 74th min
Ava PRITCHARD (Wellington Phoenix) – 81st min