Ante Juric’s Sydney FC Women opened their 2023/24 pre-season with a 2-0 victory over the Newcastle Jets at Sky Park.
It was a dominant performance from the girls in Sky Blue as they pushed and pressed the Jets from the off and scored both goals in the first half through the boots of Taylor Ray and Lucy Johnson.
In the second half, as both teams tired, the chances came at a premium and the scores remained as they were at the interval.
It was a mild evening at Macquarie Park as Sydney FC welcomed Newcastle Jets in the first pre-season encounter of the campaign.
Ante Juric named a strong starting eleven featuring four new signings in Tori Tumeth, Zara Kruger, Lucy Johnson and Shea Connors, not to mention the returning Taylor Ray who anchored the midfield. Cortnee Vine started on the right, with Princess Ibini on the left and Nat Tobin partnering Charlotte McLean at the back.
After the initial minutes where both teams took some time to get rid of the cobwebs, it was Sky Blue domination.
Cortnee Vine on the right was as dangerous as ever and denied early from the Jets number one. And moments later, a goal-line scramble from the Novocastrians prevented Vine and the scores remained at 0-0.
Set-pieces were a threat for the Sky Blues with Kirsty Fenton heading wide a Zara Kruger corner and from another delivery from the 17-year-old, the ball fell to Taylor Ray on the edge of the box who controlled, and rifled an effort into the bottom corner. A great goal for the midfielder to get after she missed the entirety of last season with an ACL injury.
Special mention also to Tori Tumeth who played her first minutes since doing her ACL while at her previous club Melbourne City, and Tumeth did well on multiple occasions to link up with Cortnee Vine on the right hand side.
Ex-Newcastle Jets player Lucy Johnson was hungry in midfield and looked to be driving forward whenever possible and was unlucky not to double the lead when a Cortnee Vine cut-back was palmed away by the Jets keeper.
She wasn’t to be denied for long though. A brilliant ball from Johnson played in American, Shea Connors, who beat her defender for pace, drew the keeper to her and played a through-ball to the on-rushing Johnson, who had the easiest of tasks of tapping into an empty net.
At the other end, the Jets almost had a goal themselves at their first attempt, after confusion from a long range free-kick, but Jada Whyman was on hand to ensure that didn’t happen, tipping over the crossbar emphatically.
At the change of ends, Juric brought on Shay Hollman & Fiona Worts for Taylor Ray and Shea Connors and the intent in the second half was much the same.
Cortnee Vine was a nightmare to deal with and drew fouls from the Jets players as she continued to be a menace. The newly arrived Fiona Worts almost found her first goal in Sky Blue after she closed down the keeper and saw the clearance cannon off her but it sadly trickled inches wide of the post.
At the 60 minute mark, nine players were withdrawn and we saw the arrival of Tahlia Franco, Abbey Lemon, Margaux Chauvet, Teigan Collister, Sienna Saveska, Indiana Dos Santos, two trialists and the return of Shea Connors.
As is usually the case with these pre-season friendlies, the intensity shifts and changes with many substitutions, however Indiana Dos Santos shone in midfield with some quick feet getting her out of tricky situations on more than one occasion.
Fiona Worts had a quick snapshot on the turn which didn’t trouble the Jets keeper, however the Jets number one was called into action when Sienna Saveska fired one from range that had shape and movement, but unfortunately it was held and danger averted.
The Jets would create one other chance in the game, cutting through the middle of the Sydney FC midfield and defence, however their young forward couldn’t steer her effort on target, with Tahlia Franco doing well to close the angle.
Overall, more match minutes will go a long way for the Sky Blues as they set their sights on the 14th of October when they open their 2023/24 season with a Sydney Derby at Allianz Stadium. Lock in your tickets for that here.
Sydney FC (Ray 18′, Johnson 44′) 2 – 0 Newcastle Jets
WHYMAN, MCLEAN, TUMETH, FENTON, CONNORS, VINE, TOBIN, RAY, KRUGER, IBINI
SUBS: CHAUVET, COLLISTER, SAVESKA, LEMON, HOLLMAN, I. DOS SANTOS, WORTS, FRANCO, BLACK