Newcastle Olympic's Jemma House had one of her quieter performances but produced a piece of class to secure a 2-2 draw against a 10-player Broadmeadow Magic in round six of Herald Women's Premier League at Darling Street Oval on Sunday.
Lucy Jerram scored in the eighth minute then Kobie Ferguson from the spot in the 22nd to have Magic in control at half-time with a 2-0 lead.
But five minutes before the break captain and centre-back Kalista Hunter was sent off for a professional foul after pulling the shirt of House as she slipped through the last line of defence.
Olympic coach Harmonie Attwill gave her team "a bit of a reality check" at half-time and they responded.
House and Laura Hall had the best chances to close the gap early in the second half but were both denied by Magic goalkeeper Jess Schultz.
The breakthrough came when substitute Brooke Summers scored in the 80th minute with a back-post volley off a well-timed cross from Georgia Amess.
Then with five minutes remaining, House stepped up for a free kick at the top right of the 18-yard box and had the wall and Shultz beat with a precise shot into the bottom left corner.
"I could see that gap from where I was standing and it seemed so obvious but you never really see anyone try to do that," Attwill said of the equaliser.
"Credit to Magic, they started really well but we just had to have a really good look at ourselves at half-time because there was no reason why we should be 2-0 down. In the first half we turned the ball over way too much and we made it really hard for ourselves.
"The girls are pretty good at responding to feedback and it's important for the progress of the team to know that if we do happen to be behind we have a capacity to come back from that. That's probably the biggest test we've had since the game against Merewether in round two."
Magic coach Jake Curley was happy with the draw and felt his team, who have only played four matches together and still have two games in hand, "are only going to get better".
The game was the first of five in a fortnight for Broadmeadow, who back up against Adamstown on Thursday night. Olympic back up against Thornton on Wednesday night.
The draw moved Olympic to 10 points and left them second after Merewether improved to 11 and into the lead with a 2-0 win over third-placed Warners Bay (nine points) at John Street Oval.
The Panthers were without American striker Jen Hoy, who was a late withdrawal due to illness. Tamara Nash opened the scoring for Merewether early in the first half then centre-back Nicki Jones went on the attack with around 15 minutes remaining to score.
United coach Scott Ellis said there was still plenty of improvement to come for the unbeaten leaders.
Warners Bay mentor Craig Atkins was disappointed not to come away with something in a game he felt the Panthers controlled for large periods of time.
"I thought we dominated the match, in the second half especially, but unfortunately you can't win games unless you put the ball in the back of the net," Atkins said.
"We've just got to be believing more in ourselves around the box and show more aggression and intensity and anticipation in that box."
Mid Coast moved into the top four and level with the Panthers on nine points after a 4-2 victory over Adamstown in Taree. Adamstown scored first but the hosts led 2-1 by half-time and were never headed from there.
Courtney Anderson bagged a double and Layni Fens and Natasha Ruge also got on the scoresheet for Mid Coast while Ellen Hughes and Leia Puxty scored for Adamstown.
Defending champions New Lambton broke through for their first win of the season, beating Thornton 5-0 at Arthur Edden Oval. Sophie Stapleford scored a brace and the other goals came through Taylah Bryde, Tahlia Gossner and Ellie Jones.
Round 6 results
Olympic 2 (Brooke Summers, Jemma House) drew with Broadmeadow 2 (Lucy Jerram, Kobie Ferguson pen) at Darling Street Oval. Magic led 2-0 at half-time.
Merewether 2 (Tamara Nash, Nicki Jones) beat Warners Bay at John Street Oval. Half-time: Merewether led 1-0.
Mid Coast 4 (Courtney Anderson 2, Layni Fens, Natasha Ruge) beat Adamstown 2 (Ellen Hughes, Leia Puxty) in Taree. Half-time: Mid Coast led 2-1.
New Lambton 5 (Sophie Stapleford 2, Taylah Bryde, Tahlia Gossner, Ellie Jones) beat Thornton 0 at Arthur Edden Oval. Half-time: New Lambton led 4-0.
Merewether 11, Olympic 10, Mid Coast 9, Warners Bay 9, Magic 7, Adamstown 7, New Lambton 4, Thornton 0.
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