Galea brace inspires Wanderers win over relentless Jets
Western Sydney Wanderers forward Rosie Galea scored her first two Westfield W-League goals to help the Red and Black register a 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets on Saturday night.
The Jets refused to succumb to defeat, mounting attack after attack as they pushed for an equaliser until the final whistle, but Galea's goals either side of Tara Andrews' equaliser proved to be all Dean Heffernan's Wanderers needed to clinch a first win of the 2020/21 campaign.
The Red and Black edged proceedings early on but the Jets went closest to scoring first when Rhianna Pollicina received the ball and drove to the edge of the box, cut inside and dispatched an attempt just beyond the top right corner of goal.
Just seconds later, however, the Jets found themselves behind when Galea pounced on a wayward pass from Cassidy Davis to tuck the ball past Claire Coelho and give the Wanderers the lead.
Newcastle refused to allow falling behind to alter their determination, and instead proceeded to up the ante and push for an equaliser.
Two penalty shouts within the space of five minutes were waved away as the Jets created multiple chances in the box before both Sunny Franco and Andrews failed to latch onto dangerous crosses from out wide and find the back of the net.
Newcastle's strong finish to the first half bled into the second when they emerged from the break and instantly levelled the scores through an opportunistic Andrews tap-in, but the parity lasted just six minutes before Galea pounced on a rebound from Leena Khamis' ingenious strike from distance to secure her brace and give the Wanderers back the lead.
Much like the opening stanza, the Jets lifted their game after falling behind once again, crafting a series of chances to draw level once more. Andrews, Lauren Allan and Pollicina all came close but Courtney Newbon stood tall in the Wanderers' goal as the Red and Black held on for dear life to claim an important win and all three points.
Pollicina curler gets Newbon scrambling
Sharp interplay between Andrews and Pollicina on the halfway line sent the latter driving toward the Wanderers' goal.
With the defence scrambling to get back, Pollicina cut onto her right and dispatched a shot which had Newbon diving to her left in fear of conceding a wonder strike.
The shot, however, proved just too strong as it evaded the back of the net and made its way out for a goal kick.
Galea scores her first Westfield W-League goal thanks to a defending mishap
For all their early pressure, Western Sydney struggled in large to trouble Newcastle's defence.
That was until Davis sent an errant pass outside her defensive box, which fell straight into the path of a lurking Galea.
After intercepting the ball Galea drove into the box and buried her shot into the bottom left corner, scoring her first Westfield W-League goal and giving the hosts a one-goal lead.
Andrews on hand to sneak home an equaliser
The Jets emerged from half-time intent on equalling the scores, and it took less than one minute of play for them to do just that thanks to the quick thinking of their number nine.
Sophie Harding created the chance, driving from the left flank and cutting onto her right to send a strike toward goal.
Wanderers 'keeper Courtney Newbon spilled the ball in the goal mouth, and before she could gather up the crumbs, Andrews had nipped in, getting her foot to the ball first to find the back of the net.
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Ambitious Khamis attempt sets up Galea's second
Leena Khamis was buzzing with energy all night, and produced a brilliant and ambitious moment of skill which crafted a goal out of nothing for Galea.
Receiving the ball from a throw in, Khamis turned her opponent and sent a no-look strike toward goal. Coehlo did well to tip the attempt off the crossbar but Galea proved far sharper than the Jets defenders, nipping ahead of her opponents to poke the ball into the back of the net.
Andrews free-kick calls for desperate Wanderers defending
After Galea scored a brace for the Red and Black down one end, Andrews went close to bagging one of her own, if not for the excellent goalkeeping of Newbon and the desperate defending of Caitlin Cooper.
Andrews looked certain to score with a well-placed dead ball attempt from just outside the box, but Newbon managed to tip the attempt onto the bar with an athletic dive.
The ball then lingered invitingly on the bounce in the six-yard box and Allan charged forward to capitalise on the opportunity, but a brave, crunching goal-line intervention from Cooper kept the ball out of the net.
Newcastle Jets v Sydney FC
Friday, January 8 2021
McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-off 4:35pm AEDT
Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday, January 16 2021
Kick-off 7:35pm AEDT