Jets coach Ash Wilson praised Newcastle's fight and ability to "weather the storm" in a 1-1 draw with Perth on Sunday night as they returned to action ahead of a "crucial" period in their A-League Women's season.
In Newcastle's first game in over three weeks due to COVID interruptions, the Jets came from behind at No.2 Sportsground to share the points and retain their fifth position on the competition standings with two games in hand.
The draw moved Newcastle to eight points, one behind fourth-placed Adelaide (9). Sixth-placed Perth also moved to eight and the Jets' next opponents, Brisbane, improved to seventh and seven points with a 3-2 win over last-placed Wellington (1) on Sunday.
"The draw keeps us connected," Wilson told the Newcastle Herald post-match on Sunday.
"We haven't lost since the first game against Sydney. Obviously, three points would've been nice to put a little more distance between us and teams behind us, but in previous seasons that's a game we might have lost.
"It was a little bit disappointing that after all of the chances we were creating late in the game that we didn't come away with three points, but I can't fault the girls' fighting spirit and their mentality. To still be pushing and creating those chances and making sure that we were able to find an equaliser was positive."
The Jets have played the least amount of games of all 10 ALW sides. They had their round-five and six clashes with Melbourne City and Victory respectively postponed and have made just five appearances as the league reaches round eight this weekend.
Newcastle meet the Roar, who have played all seven of their matches, in Brisbane this Sunday before reaching their season midpoint against ninth-placed Canberra (2) in a club double-header at McDonald Jones Stadium on January 30.
It is an important two-match period for Newcastle as they look to get their season back on track after being hard hit by COVID in recent weeks.
"In the next two to three weeks against Brisbane then Canberra we need to be putting points on the board and putting distance between us and those teams who are just behind us to stay connected to the top four and make sure that we're in that mix," Wilson said.
"We've still got the two postponed games that we need to make up. It's a 14-week season and only four teams make semi-finals, so it's a really crucial period for us."
The match against Perth was the Jets' first since they beat Wellington 1-0 on December 23 and after more than half of their 18-player squad contracted COVID.
They have lost the services of Matildas midfielder Emily van Egmond, who was headed to India with the Australian team on Monday for the Women's Asian Cup.
Experienced centre-back Hannah Brewer was unavailable as she was believed to be isolating as a COVID contact.
Exciting Norwegian forward Marie Dolvik Markussen did not play either after only coming out of isolation on match day.
"Obviously, our key principles have never changed and it wasn't a matter of starting again, but [COVID] did affect a lot of the players in different ways and we weren't quite sure how that was going to present itself in the way they played this week," Wilson said.
"Losing personnel meant that we were playing different people in midfield and had a different starting line-up. The combinations might not have been as smooth as it could have been but there were still people trying to play our brand of football and we'll continue to build off that performance."
The two sides were locked 0-0 at the break. Glory took a 1-0 lead through teenage talent Hana Lowry in the 54th minute.
Jets goalkeeper Claire Coelho made two clutch saves - one to deny Lisa De Vanna and another to stop a dangerous free kick - before United States import Elizabeth Eddy found an equaliser for the hosts in the 77th as the home team finished the stronger of the two sides.
Centre-back Taren King was also outstanding in key moments for Newcastle and her steely performance helped keep them in the game.
"They're things that we've talked about - it's not just the forwards that need to be able to do their job and put away the chances that are being created," Wilson said.
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