Lara Gooch admits she is a touch starstruck playing alongside home-grown Matildas star Emily van Egmond, but the teenage talent plans to soak up every minute.
Gooch and van Egmond combined for both of Newcastle's goals in a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to A-League heavyweights Melbourne City at No.2 Sportsground on Sunday.
The Matildas midfielder, who is playing a four-game guest stint for the Jets, struck first after Gooch whipped a cross into City's 18-yard box for a 13th-minute equaliser.
The Boolaroo 18-year-old then gave Newcastle a 2-1 half-time advantage after van Egmond's perfectly weighted lofted pass from deep in her own territory put Gooch in space with just City's goalkeeper to beat.
It was the lightning quick forward's first A-League goal in 18 appearances.
"It feels really good to get one under my belt," Gooch told the Newcastle Herald post-match.
"I feel like it's been coming, just not been able to get one in, so happy to get one and just unlucky with the result today."
Blessed with speed and power off the mark, Gooch is dangerous every time she touches the ball.
But finishing under pressure, with experienced centre-back Rebekah Stott breathing down your neck and a goalkeeper advancing, is no easy feat.
Finish she did, though, taking a touch then slotting past an outstretched Lysianne Proulx into the bottom left corner.
The goal came after van Egmond had almost scored a second only to have her shot inadvertently blocked by Gooch.
"I was just thinking, 'I'd better score this one'," Gooch said.
"I got in the way of [Emily's] last shot, so I've got to get this one.
"It was just, 'Head down. Run. Got to get there'. She's world class with balls in the air and I knew if I just kept going, don't look up and wait, it'll get there, and then just had to do the easy job and finish it off."
Gooch, who has just finished year 12 at Hunter Sports High, is in the Young Matildas frame and regarded as one of the country's brightest young prospects.
And, she looks set to take her game to another level this season with the instant impact of playing alongside van Egmond unmissable.
"It's like starstruck," Gooch said.
"It's somebody you've watched your whole life, looked up to as a kid and then you're playing next to her. It's a surreal feeling.
"I watched her at the World Cup, making it to the semi-finals with the Matildas, and to be playing alongside her is just incredible.
"She's a leader on the field and off the field, always giving advice and looking out for everyone on the field to try to get the best out of the whole team.
"You just need to soak up as much as you can around her because she's here for a short stint and she's going to be missed when she goes."
Gooch has overcome an injury-hampered off-season to feature in every game for the Jets this campaign, starting in their past three outings.
She came off the bench to provide a pinpoint cross for Melina Ayres' late winner in a 1-0 victory over Central Coast in round one.
"I'm just happy to come into this season healthy and fit," Gooch said.
"I had a lot of injuries in the off-season, so just coming back in, getting my body right and performing and trying to make that starting 11 are the main goals.
"I want to just keep developing and improving, and getting results."
For the most part, the Jets played inspired football against City.
It was gutsy, desperate, lethal and entertaining.
They dominated the unbeaten second-placed City for the better part of the match but fell short at the death, conceding off a corner in the 78th minute then on the counter-attack in the second minute of stoppage time.
While devastating, the improvement was vast from a 4-0 loss to Melbourne Victory in Melbourne one week earlier.
The crowd of 3207, a record attendance for an A-League Women's match at No.2 Sportsground, lapped up every moment.
"We had a bit of an idea of what we wanted to do and we found in the first half that it paid some dividends, and we were probably a bit unlucky in some ways not to score another two or three," Jets coach Gary van Egmond said.
"When we came back out, we changed to try to ensure that we soaked up a bit of pressure but we just didn't it well enough, and that's where we're at at the moment.
"They're a top team and we're a team that's getting better week by week, but we've still got a fair way to go.
"We didn't get the points but the performance in a lot of ways was excellent, so there's a lot for us to build on. But it's also not good enough just to have a good performance. We need to be taking three points."
The result left the Jets on four points after five rounds as they eye Canberra in Canberra this Sunday.
City and Perth remain the unbeaten league pace-setters with 13 points each.
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