A stunning strike on the cusp of half-time from Cortnee Vine helped Newcastle United to a 1-0 win over Canberra United on Saturday in Round 3 of the Westfield W-League.
Both sides started tentatively and there were no major attacking forays in the opening minutes at McDonald Jones Stadium, but the hosts began to find their footing and Jenna Kingsley in particular looked dangerous.
Gema Simon whipped in a great cross that just evaded Katie Stengel and Kingsley in the middle before United cleared the danger, and Nicki Flannery fired wide down the other end just two minutes later with the first chance for her side.
Ellie Carpenter, Nikola Orgill and Taren King performed well in a new back three with Rachel Corsie not playing, and good link-up play down the attacking end between Maddy Whittall and Rhoda Mulaudzi caused trouble for the hosts before they cleared with 20 minutes played.
Denise O’Sullivan had a shot blocked and United were on top for a period mid-way through the half, and great pressure from Cote and Mulaudzi forced a turnover before Flannery fired wide with the half approaching.
It would be the hosts taking the lead into the break though, as Vine picked up the ball outside the area, and rifled an effort across Sham Khamis and into the top corner to give Newcastle a goal advantage with the last kick of the half.
Laura Hughes replaced Cote at the break and her energy was obvious as the half began, but the Jets began the period strongly, pushing high up the park and looking to force errors from the United backline.
Elizabeth Copus-Brown fired over early and Stengel curled an effort wide after cutting inside as the hosts pushed for a second goal.
Mulaudzi fired over from range after great work from Carpenter as the game approached the final 20 minutes, and shortly after Nikola Orgill made a goal-saving tackle on Hannah Brewer after a cross from the right to deny the Jets a two-goal advantage.
The visitors pushed hard approaching the final 10 minutes and Karly Roestbakken headed over after a good free-kick from Carpenter while King was booked down the other end for a strong challenge on Kingsley outside the area.
Hughes came within inches of levelling the score but had to watch her deflected strike from range creep just wide of Britt Eckerstrom’s goal with time winding down.
Carpenter thought she had equalised in the fifth minute of stoppage time from a brilliant solo effort but her shot went the wrong side of the upright from a tight angle and the final whistle sounded to give the Jets their first win of the new season.
United now head to South Australia to take on Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Thursday night.