Drought over: Canberra United ends 741-day W-League win-less streak

A first-half tap-in by a rookie and a late piece of individual brilliance by a veteran helped Canberra United end a 741-day drought in Newcastle on Saturday.

Canberra surrendered a two-goal lead in the first half but was saved by Norwegian star Elise Thorsnes, who scored in the 81st minute to beat the Newcastle Jets 3-2.

Canberra United celebrate a first W-League goal for Ashlie Croft, centre, in yesterday's win over the Jets in Newcastle. Picture: Getty Images

Canberra United celebrate a first W-League goal for Ashlie Croft, centre, in yesterday's win over the Jets in Newcastle. Picture: Getty Images

It was Canberra's first win away from home since beating Newcastle 2-1 in 2017 with a very different looking squad, with only coach Heather Garriock and a couple of players remaining in green. The monkey is finally off the club's back and they are now free to try to stake their claim as a finals contender after banking their second win from three games this season.

Thorsnes' late winner was the break Canberra needed after scoring the first two goals, but conceding two penalties to trudge into half-time locked at 2-2.

Garriock conceded both penalties were warranted, despite some controversy surrounding the referee's decisions.

The first came when former Canberra player Nikki Flannery was brought down in the penalty area. The referee initially awarded a free kick, but changed her decision after seeing a replay on the big screen.

The second came in the 45th minute when Karly Roestbakken made slight contact with Jenna Kinglsey, leading to another penalty.

"To concede two penalties in the last 10 minutes of the first half wasn't good enough from our girls," Garriock said.

"But we learn from it. The first was a silly tackle and then it was out of character for Roestbakken to clip her. You can't do that. "It's the discipline. We need to work on that ... when we get in front we need to be ruthless and finish the game off."

Canberra landed the first blow when a Roestbakken shot hit the crossbar and landed at the feet of Ashie Crofts, who was making her starting debut. The 21-year-old from Sydney calmly slotted her first goal in the W-League to take a 1-0 lead.

"I was thinking don't miss hit it. Just touch it very gently. The relief has set in, I can be excited now," Crofts said.

"The W-League wasn't happening for me in Sydney. I'd never been in a training squad, I never had my chance. But when [Garriock] asked me to come down, I tried to take it with both hands."

Canberra added to its lead three minutes later when a sublime Leena Khamis pass put Simone Charley in space, and the former Olympic triple-jump hopeful made no mistake to score her third goal in three games.

But the Jets hit back when Tara Andrews twice converted from the spot, leaving it to Thorsnes with time running out. Thorsnes arrived in Canberra on Wednesday, but showed no signs of jet lag with a classy finish to win the game. She has now scored seven goals in her 10 W-League games.

"I'm not excited, we still have to improve. I'm happy we got the three points, but the most important thing is to bounce back for Brisbane at home," Garriock said.

This story Canberra snaps 741-day road drought first appeared on The Canberra Times.