JETS W-League coach Craig Deans says he will continue with attacking formations to chase victories despite a 5-2 loss to Canberra on the road on Saturday in round four.
Canberra led 2-0 at half-time at McKellar Park after goals to Michelle Heyman (19th minute) and Stephanie Ochs (33rd). Heyman extended the lead in the 52nd minute before speedster Rhali Dobson, who was brought into Newcastle’s starting side ahead of utility Clare Wheeler, got the visitors on the board in the 63rd. Grace Maher made it 4-1 for Canberra in the 65th before Jen Hoy gave Newcastle a glimmer of hope with a goal in the 87th. Nickoletta Flannery then struck in injury time for the hosts.
The loss came after 4-0 and 1-0 wins for Newcastle over Melbourne Victory and Perth respectively had put them top of the table.
Deans said he “backed our girls to be good enough to defend the goals” after staying with three up front in attack despite Canberra playing three at the back.
After starting the season with a conservative game plan in a 1-0 loss to defending premiers Melbourne City, Deans said he wanted his side to play attacking football.
“If you want to be safe, you play two up front and it gives you an extra defender or midfielder, but I wanted to try to win the game,” Deans said. “It was a case of going player for player and seeing if we were good enough, and on the day we weren’t. But I’d rather do that, that’s the way I want to play.
“We tried to do it in a conservative way against City in round one and it didn’t suit us. We’ve signed players who are not suited to sitting back and waiting for the game to happen. I’m not going to do that again, and sometimes it bites you, and it did on the weekend.”
He said the Jets “just didn’t defend very well, and they didn’t follow instructions”.
“We warned them that Canberra had good quality players in the front third and to not give them time on the edge of our box and their first two goals came from us backing off at the edge of the box,” he said. “Everyone has to be accountable for their performance and yesterday I don’t think we had enough people who were good enough.
“But as long as everyone understands where they need to improve, we’re still in a reasonably good position after four games. It’s not the end of the world.
“We’ve won two and lost two, but I want to win every game. I don’t want to go out there trying to not lose games.”
Deans was disappointed with individual performances across the park but was encouraged by the number of chances Newcastle created.
The loss dropped Newcastle to mid-table and Deans predicted changes to his line-up for the clash with perennial powerhouses Sydney next Sunday at McDonald Jones Stadium. He said Newcastle needed a result against Sydney ahead of the bye.
Elsewhere Saturday, Brisbane Roar defeated Western Sydney 2-0. On Sunday, Jess Fishlock scored twice for Melbourne City in a 3-0 win over Victory and Sydney beat Adelaide 2-0.