Vine time! Matildas star makes goalscoring return to take down Jets

Check out the highlights from the final match of round 7 in the Liberty A-League as Sydney FC took on Newcastle Jets.

Cortnee Vine made her long-awaited comeback from injury and scored the winning goal to lead Liberty A-League champions Sydney FC past Newcastle Jets 1-0.

Matildas hero Vine had not featured for Sydney since Round 2, having picked up a hamstring injury while on international duty for Australia in October.

Vine was back in Newcastle on Sunday, coming off the bench and breaking the deadlock with six minutes remaining for her first goal of the season.

There was a notable face back on Sydney’s bench as Matildas star Cortnee Vine returned from injury, while 16-year-old recruit Madeleine Caspers was thrust straight into the XI on the day she signed for the Sky Blues.

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She was in the thick of action on debut, linking up hell with 2021-22 Julie Dolan Medallist Fiona Worts.

Sydney found the back of the net through Worts in the 13th minute, however, it was ruled out for a foul in the build up.

With Emily van Egmond back from Matildas duty in Canada, the Jets continued to press Sydney on home soil.

Van Egmond almost unlocked the visitors in the 24th minute with a teasing pass. But, Sky Blues goalkeeper Jada Whyman – who was also in the Australia squad to face Canada during the week – was quick off her line to twice deny Newcastle.

There was a great chance for Sydney six minutes before half-time – the Jets retreated and it allowed Aideen Keane to charge forward into the penalty area but her effort went wide of the post.

Tash Prior prevented a near-certain goal 10 minutes into the second half. Caspers picked out Worts with a sensational pass, releasing the Englishwoman in a one-v-one situation but just as it looked like she would score, the Jets defender made a last-ditch tackle to keep the scores level.

Worts was involved against in the 64th minute after Newcastle’s Claudio Cicco played a backpass straight to the Sydney forward. However, she could not find a way past Isobel Nino in a huge let-off for Cicco and the Jets.

Shea Connors was brought on to replace Worts – moments after Vine made her return – and the American almost broke the deadlock 19 minutes from the end. However, her shot from outside the box hit the crossbar.

Connors had another opportunity to score after rounding the keeper in the 77th minute. Fortunately for Newcastle, Prior was on hand to clear the ball off the line.

With the match petering out for a draw, Sydney capitalised on an error from Newcastle’s goalkeeper. Nino fluffed her lines and Princess Ibini pounced, playing a ball across the six-yard box for Vine to score the simplest of goals.

The Talking Point

Will she or won’t she? That was the question regarding Vine’s participation in Sydney’s trip to Newcastle on Sunday.

Not since the round-two defeat in Brisbane had she stepped out for Ante Juric’s Sky Blues.

Vine took her place on the bench for the showdown at No.2 Sportsground in the Hunter region as fans gathered to get a glimpse of the Sydney winger.

She was introduced in the 54th minute and 30 minutes later, found the back of the net.

It was Vine’s first goal of the season and first in the A-Leagues since scoring twice against the Jets in a 4-0 rout in April.

The Star

If you didn’t know about Madeleine Caspers, now you do.

Sydney announced the signing of Caspers at 12:30pm AEDT on Sunday. At 4pm, she was making her debut for the Premiership-Championship holders.

The Junior Matildas sensation oozed class in a battle against Van Egmond’s Newcastle, showcasing her quality with tremendous vision and passing accuracy.

What it means

Sydney bounced back from their loss to Melbourne City last time out. The Sky Blues have won 10 games against the Jets, dating back to 2017.

Now within two points of the top four with two matches in hand, Sydney are next in action away to league-leading Perth Glory on December 17.

As for the Jets, they lost for the second time in three matches.

Newcastle, who are 10th, host Western United on December 17.