Amy Jackson second half goal keeps Melbourne in the finals hunt | Chris Dunkerley, Back-of-the-Net
The Melbourne Victory have held on to claim a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Newcastle Jets in the Westfield W-League clash at Wanderers Oval on Sunday afternoon.
A second-half tap-in by Amy Jackson was enough to seal the three points for the visitors, but a late flurry by the home side, including a powerful Kate Hensman header which crashed onto the bar, ensured a thrilling encounter until the final whistle.
After claiming a valuable three points on the road, the Victorians now climb above their opponents and into fifth spot on the Westfield W-League ladder.
Jets youngster Tara Andrews, who was playing as a lone striker for the home side, had two chances to open the scoring within the space of sixty seconds midway through the first half, with her first effort drifting wide of the target before her second strike was deflected out for a corner.
Victory midfielder Ella Mastrantonio then looked to break the deadlock on the half hour mark, but her shot from outside the area sailed harmlessly wide of the goal.
The tenacious Melissa Feuerriegel had the only other genuine chance of a tense opening stanza when she hit a fierce strike from distance, only to be denied by the safe hands of Westfield Matildas goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri. It was the last piece of action of the first half, with both teams heading to the break locked at 0-0.
Shortly after the break, though, the visitors took the lead through the anticipation of a lively Jackson. The 24-year-old was left with a simple tap-in after an initial shot by Jodie Taylor was parried into her path by Jets' custodian Allison Lipsher. Jackson made no mistake when presented with the opportunity.
The goal certainly jolted the home side into action, and they almost found the perfect reply in the 52nd minute when Gema Simon sent in a tempting cross from the left flank. Hensman’s ensuing header slammed into the woodwork before being cleared by a scrambling Victory defence.
In the final quarter of an hour, the Jets continued to push forward in desperate search for an equaliser. Late chances subsequently fell to the impressive Feuerriegel, but the attacking midfielder was twice denied by Melbourne skipper Barbieri when it seemed certain that parity would be restored.
The staunch Victory backline, led by the rock-solid Barbieri, ultimately held on to their one-goal advantage for the remainder of the game to kick-off 2011 in winning fashion.
Newcastle Jets 0
Melbourne Victory (Jackson 47)