Western United suffered its second straight defeat in the Liberty A-League Women, falling 2-0 to Newcastle Jets on Wednesday evening.
Goals just before and just after half-time put Newcastle in control and United couldn’t find a way back into the match.
Despite the result, the Green and Black still remains at the top of the table ahead of a big match against Melbourne City on Saturday.
Mark Torcaso made five changes to the starting XI with a number of United’s more fringe players getting an opportunity from the start.
Aleksandra Sinclair made her first ever Liberty A-League start while Natasha Dakic and Julia Sardo came into the defence and, fresh from her Young Matildas call-up, Kahli Johnson was named in attack.
Western United began the game positively and was able to work the ball through the lines and find Adriana Taranto and Emma Robers as the two higher midfielders.
Hannah Keane was dropping into space to support the build-up as well, but United failed to register any clear sights at goal before Newcastle began to gain control.
The visitors looked to catch United’s defence out with repeated early balls in behind and while most of them were either dealt with by the defence or picked up by Hillary Beall in goal, there were a couple of nervy moments at the back for Western United.
The first came just past the 20-minute mark as Beall slid to smother the ball at the feet of the striker but the ball spilled to the edge of the area and opened up nicely for a shot on goal, but Dakic was on hand to make an excellent last-ditch block and clear the danger.
Those two were involved again moments later albeit with far greater difficulty as a mix-up allowed Ashlee Brodigan an open goal to aim for, but the Jets striker rolled her shot agonisingly wide.
When United eventually gained more a foothold in possession, Keane had two sighters in quick succession. The first was a flicked header that bounced wide after Johnson’s brilliant run set her up, the second a chip that she didn’t quite get hold of on the bounce and ultimately sent high and wide.
Four corners in a row for Newcastle but the pressure back on the hosts, and while the second one was whisked away after the Jets hit the crossbar, the fourth brought about the opening goal as Taren King headed home unmarked at the back post.
Torcaso made three substitutions at half-time in an effort to change the game but the second period got off to the worst possible start as Brodigan scored within moments of the restart.
United continued to struggle to apply pressure as the Jets looked to hold onto the lead, sitting back and limiting the space that the Green and Black had to work in.
The home side needed to begin throwing everything forward in the final half an hour and had two massive opportunities to get back into the game.
Johnson went on another enterprising run down the right-wing and sent the ball across the six-yard box towards Keane, but the No.9 just couldn’t reach the ball as she slid in to apply the finish.
Keane was involved again soon after when she was played in superbly by Tyla Jay Vlajnic for a one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Under pressure as the keeper rushed off her line, Keane slid the ball just wide of the post and the chance went begging.