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Late Hicks stunner earns point for Phoenix

Wellington and Newcastle have played out a thrilling 2-2 draw at Hutt Recreation Reserve in Wellington on Sunday afternoon.

The draw marks eight games unbeaten at home for Wellington, however it is also their fourth game without a win.

Wellington started where they left off last week against Melbourne City, looking to attack and control possession. However, just like last week, for all their dominance, they struggled to find the back of the net.

Newcastle took full advantage, stunning the Wellington crowd with two goals on the break inside the opening 20 minutes.

Newcastle’s first goal came in the 12th minute through a fortuitous own goal. Manny Muscat attempted to clear a Jets corner, but his errant header found the head of teammate Roly Bonevacia, before ricocheting into the top corner of the net, leaving keeper Glen Moss helpless.

The second came just six minutes later, again through a corner. This time, Jets defender Scott Neville produced a sublime header, which found the inside of the back post, to double the lead for the away side.

The struggling Jets had not scored a goal from a corner all season, and now suddenly had two in six minutes.

It was the first time Newcastle had scored in the first 15 minutes of a match in an astonishing 51 games and also their first goal away from home in four matches.

Just three minutes from half time Newcastle very nearly had a third, with Edson Montano’s header hitting the upright, having had keeper Glen Moss soundly beaten.

Despite the scoreline, Wellington’s dominance in possession continued and Newcastle did well to thwart several close chances and ensure they went into the break with a two-goal lead.

Wellington burst out of the blocks in the second half, completely dominating their opposition once again.

Socceroo Nathan Burns missed a golden opportunity just five minutes into the second half, fresh-airing an attempted back heel instead of what should’ve been a regulation tap in.

Newcastle were hanging on by a thread repelling attack after attack from Wellington, with several chances falling agonisingly close for the home side.

Wellington finally broke their scoring drought and scored the inevitable goal in the 68th minute through arguably their best player for the game, Roy Krishna.

Burns played a dangerous cross into the box, which slid past everyone and found Krishna at the far post who scored his seventh goal of the season.

Phil Stubbins’ side was brilliant in defence, with several players, particularly youngster Andrew Hoole, running themselves ragged.

Newcastle was dealt a further blow when Ben Kantarovski received a second yellow card after a challenge on substitute Jason Hicks, and the Jets were down to 10 men.

Wellington then finally equalized in the third minute of stoppage time with a brilliant free kick from Jason Hicks. Burns was brought down just outside the area and then Hicks dually stepped up and produced a sensational finish into the top right hand corner.

Wellington continued to attack and pressure the Jets’ defense in the final few minutes but the game ended in 2-2 draw.


Ultimate A-League ‘Player of the Year’ Votes
3 Roy Krishna (Wellington Phoenix)
2 Andrew Hoole (Newcastle Jets)
1 Nathan Burns (Wellington Phoenix)
Youth Andrew Hoole (Newcastle Jets)

About the author

avatarBen is a Journalism graduate, a Melbourne Victory fan and contributor to Ultimate A-League.

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