Mature win shows Jets are the real deal
They may end rebel Female Football Round outside the top four but for Newcastle Jets it has been a very positive start to the season.
The Jets defeated Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0 at Marconi Stadium on Saturday night and at the time of writing they sit in third position on the Westfield W-League ladder.
REPORT: Jets see off Wanderers
Other results may well out them from the finals positions, thanks largely to a Round 1 bye, but even that cannot mask how well the Novocastrians have done so far.
Their first match ended in a narrow defeat to Melbourne Victory, a side that has emerged as an early season challenger, while a home triumph over Canberra United got the Jets up and running.
This result, while not necessarily impressive on the scoreboard, was a mature and gritty display.
Wanderers held the majority of the ball (55% in fact), completing 357 passes at a success rate of 72%.
Jets meanwhile racked up 284 with an inferior success rate of 61%, hardly match-winning numbers.
In the final third however the Jets showed just how good a team they can be.
They battered Jada Whyman’s goal with 19 shots compared to 10 from the home side.
Only four of them found the target but this was not necessarily down to a faulty radar, 10 of those 19 shots were blocked by a defender in red and black.
Western Sydney’s efforts in defence were valiant and on another night they could have easily snared a point if not for Whyman’s misplaced clearance that landed at the feet of Katie Stengel.
But the goal, coolly finished by Jenna Kingsley, perhaps says more about the away side than any defensive inadequacies of the home.
Jets teams of the past would have struggled to take that chance when presented, a hallmark of so many of the great Westfield W-League sides.
Tonight’s three points could be the difference come season’s end in what is firming as one of the most intriguing finals races in the league’s history.
More performances like that and the Jets may well find themselves there for the second year running.