Sydney four points clear in ALW after Jets win

A stunning strike from Princess Ibini lifted unbeaten Sydney FC four points clear at the top of the Liberty A-League Women ladder, after they survived a late scare to score a 1-0 victory at plucky Newcastle Jets.

Ibini played a one-two with Remy Siemsen and lashed a spectacular 25-metre shot past Claire Coelho in the 22nd minute on Sunday.

In the final minute of stoppage time, Newcastle appeared to have snatched a late equaliser, when a Taren King shot following a corner deflected into the net off Jets goalkeeper Claire Coelho, who had come up for the set piece.

The Jets’ joy was short-lived as referee Georgia Ghiradello decided Sydney goalkeeper Jada Whyman had been obstructed.

The two head coaches had different takes on the incident.

“In my mind I couldn’t see any reason why it shouldn’t have been (given),” Jets’ coach Ash Wilson said.

“I thought it was a foul,” said Sydney coach Ante Juric, who watched the game on television, after a bout of gastro prevented him from attending the game.

Whyman extended her league record for consecutive clean sheets to nine since conceding her only goal of the season to Newcastle in the opening round as Sydney picked up a sixth straight win.

Mackenzie Hawkesby had a 26th-minute penalty saved by Coelho, after Ibini had been fouled by King.

The Jets’ goalkeeper pulled off other good saves and Sydney’s Natalie Tobin hit the bar from 40 metres out just before half-time.

While most of Sydney’s best attempts were from long distance, Newcastle created the better close-range opportunities.

Three minutes before Ibini’s goal, an unmarked Lucy Johnson drilled the ball wide from seven metres out in a central position 

Whyman denied Sophie Harding and Elizabeth Eddy in the final few minutes.

“Newcastle actually did well, so we were probably lucky to get a win. Maybe a draw was fair but that’s the way it goes,” Juric said.

“We weren’t fluent today, so I’m not going to say we were good. It wasn’t our best performance.”

While sixth-placed Newcastle have no realistic chance of making the top four, Wilson said they wanted to finish as high as possible and felt the quality of their performance on Sunday merited a least a draw.

“I thought the girls played well,” Wilson said.

“It was probably one of the best games I’ve seen them play, they put Sydney under a lot of pressure.”