With both sides facing a golden opportunity to see their finals stocks rise it was the Newcastle Jets who held on to a slender 2-1 victory at Marden Sports Complex against a ragged Adelaide United in their W-League clash on Saturday.

In a highly competitive and frenetic match, Katie Stengel and Tori Huster’s strikes were enough to hold the energetic but disjointed United at bay.

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A free-flowing first half saw both sides come agonisingly close to scoring.

Alex Chidiac struck the bar from a stunning free-kick, before import Stengel scored in the 32nd minute with a crafty lob over reserves goalkeeper Sarah Willacy.

The Jets’ one goal margin at the break quickly doubled as fellow American Huster curled a magical free-kick into the top left, after a particularly questionable foul just outside the box.

The home side pulled one back almost immediately through surprise scored Katie Naughton, as her header from a precise Danielle Colaprico free-kick found the bottom-left corner.

Adelaide pressed for the entirety of the the remaining minutes, seeing some magical efforts fall millimetres shy of equalising.

But just like the US’ foreign policy over the early 2000s, Stengel and Huster took the points back to Newcastle, leaving their hosts in disarray with just one win from four.

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Iraq reference aside, the Reds are staring at some stark similarities to their previous season. Just like 2016-17, promising performances have left many fans dreaming of a maiden finals appearance, but the team lack the results to reflect this.

Adriana Jones cut a frustrated figure last night, as the hugely talented forward failed to hit the score sheet again.

It’s a far cry from her heights of the previous season, where she notched up nine goals to claim Adelaide’s golden boot.

Without her influence, Ivan Karlovic has to further rely on the exploits of Makenzy Doniak upfront, with Dani Colaprico masterminding the engine room.

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Of course this is not always a bad thing, as we saw in United’s previous home match against Perth.

But Karlovic knows he cannot rely on the prodigiously talented pair to shoulder the brunt of the workload. He needs their talents in tandem with that of Aussie trio Chidiac, Jones and Emily Condon, particularly as the side play two up front.

With this in mind, be sure to keep a watchful eye on next week’s fixture that pits Adelaide in a crucial tie against the best possible example of chemistry in the brilliant Melbourne City.

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Adelaide-based writer, content creator and story-teller. Like one of those determined ants that require a second flick.