In front of a healthy crowd of 2,146 fans at Hunter Stadium saw the home side, Newcastle Jets, keep their finals hopes alive with a 92nd minute goal to Jen Hoy capping off a highly dramatic, action packed game of football.
It had everything from a controversial send-off of Brisbane Roar goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold in the 81st minute, the resulting penalty being saved in a high pressure situation by replacement goal keeper Georgina Worth with her first touch in top level football to a last gasp, 92nd minute winner.
With three of the four finals places confirmed, it was a match that both sides really needed to take maximum points from.
For both the Jets and the Roar finals football had come early and anything less than a win would spell the end of their finals ambitions.
It was the home side that appeared the hungriest throughout the afternoon and got off to a flying start opening the scoring in the ninth minute through a well-placed Grace MacIntyre corner was met by the head of Jen Hoy though on closer inspection the ball was judged to have deviated off the head of a Roar defender and was thus put down as an own goal.
Scoring early helped the Jets settle into the match quicker than the visitors who began to try to force the issue a little. The half time stats in terms of possession favoured the Roar but the Jets appeared the better side throughout the half and eventually the match.
The Newcastle defence, which has had some issues and changes throughout the season, were much improved and lifted at crucial times in the match. They pressed the Brisbane Roar and stopped them from playing out from the back, dropped off when needed to deny them space in behind.
In doing this, the Jets denied Brisbane the chance to get in behind them and use their pace.
Therefore, this left the only option for the Roar was to play to them which played into the hands of the Jets particularly the likes of Megan Oyster who was a shining light once again, constantly winning the ball in crucial situations.
Goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland continues to impress and improve pulling off some fantastic saves highlighted by a particular incident in the 2nd half.
The Roar had a free kick in dangerous position about 25, 30 meters out and slightly to the right of the goal. Standing over the ball was Katrina Gorry who struck a trademark rocket with the right foot that may have just creeped in. Rowland dived acrobatically to her right to pull off a fine save.
The Roar were flat throughout the match, lacking intensity and zest in the middle of the park.
Chapman was pushing higher up top leaving Gorry isolated and having to do a lot of work and was easily picked off by the Jets.
The flashpoint in the match came in the 81st minute with the controversial penalty and subsequent red card to Brisbane Roar keeper Mackenzie Arnold who was judged to have fouled Jen Hoy after collecting the ball after a consultation with her assistant referee Kate Patterson decided a red card would be sufficient dividing opinions from fans and experts alike.
A superb save from debutant Georgina Worth from the resulting penalty brought high admiration from her teammates and lifted the Roar.
Brisbane rallied late on but it was the Jets that would ultimately own the afternoon as in the dying minutes their persistence finally payed off.
The Jets broke through Kingsley who gathered the ball on the extreme left before shifting it central to Gilliland and Wheeler who in turn slid it out to the right hand edge where Dobson was free taking the ball into the box, beat the shifting defender and squaring it up for Jen Hoy to tap home the winner.
The Jets got what they deserved in what was without a doubt their best performance of the season.
After several changed to the line-up the Jets look to have finally clicked and played a complete game of football. Just the confidence boost they need ahead of a big NSW derby at Lambert Park on Saturday afternoon in a match that could decide their season.
For the Brisbane Roar it’s not quite curtains either as a win against Melbourne City in their final game with other results going their way could possibly sneak into the finals.
Newcastle Jets 2 (Summer O’Brien O.G. 10’, Jen Hoy 92’)
Brisbane Roar 1 (Tameka Butt 45’)
Sunday 15 January 2017
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium
Referee: Katie Patterson
Newcastle Jets: Katelyn Rowland (gk), Megan Oyster, Arin Gilliland, Cassidy Davis, Gema Simon (c), Jen Hoy, Grace McIntyre (Ashlee Brodigan 88’), Elizabeth Copus-Brown (Rhali Dobson 60’), Liana Danaskos (Sophie Nenadovic 70’), Jenna Kingsley, Clare Wheeler
Substitutes – Claire Coelho (gk)
Cautions – Cassidy Davis 44’, Megan Oyster 90’
Brisbane Roar: Mackenzie Arnold (gk), Nina Frausing-Pedersen, Amy Chapman (Cortnee Vine 69’), Clare Polkinghorne (c), Angela Beard, Kaitlyn Torpey, Katrina Gorry, Tameka Butt, Summer O’Brien (Georgina Worth 84’), Emily Gielnik, Madlyn Evans
Substitutes – Sunny Franco, Allira Toby
Cautions – none
Red card: Mackenzie Arnold 81’