Gilliland hat-trick downs Sky Blues

Newcastle Jets downed leaders Sydney FC 3-1 on Saturday as the Novocastrians strengthened their Westfield W-League finals series hopes with an impressive performance.

A second half hat-trick to Arin Gilliland sealed the points for the away side, as Kyah Simon got her name on the scoresheet with a consolation goal for the Sky Blues in the dying minutes.

The first half opened with the Jets pressing the Sky Blues high and forcing turnovers, however they were susceptible on the break as Caitlin Foord latched onto a ball over the top before firing wide in the third minute.

Simon found Francisca Ordega with a teasing ball minutes later, however the Nigerian couldn’t steer it in, as the Jets forced chances of their own with Jennifer Hoy and Gilliland looking lively as some solid Sky Blues defence from Georgia Yeoman-Dale and Elizabeth Ralston kept them at bay.

Leena Khamis and Alanna Kennedy threatened towards the end of the half, however with the two sides went in at the break with the scores locked at nil all.

The second half opened slowly with both sides enjoying spells in possession, however 10 minutes into the half and the Jets took the lead as Gilliland pounced on a bouncing ball following a goalmouth scramble to prod home past Sham Khamis in goal.

The Sky Blues searched for an immediate reply as Ordega struck an effort wide of goal before Gilliland grabbed her second with a looping header over the keeper following a cross from deep in the 74th minute.

Servet Uzunlar looked for a way back into the match with a stinging shot from distance following the restart, before Amy Harrison made a welcome return to the Westfield W-League after over a year out through injury with her 75th minute substitution.

With time ticking down Gilliland sealed her hat-trick as she capitalised on an error from Khamis to slot into an empty net before Simon bagged a consolation goal in stoppage time, firing in from range with virtually thr last kick of the match.

Sydney FC are at Adelaide United on Sunday 29 January (kick off 2:30pm) in the final round, while Newcastle face Melbourne City in Coffs Harbour on Friday 27 January (kick off 5:20pm).