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Wanderers edge past Jets

Western Sydney have jumped back into 2nd position on the A-League table, following a 1-0 win over Newcastle Jets on Sunday afternoon.

A first-half goal to Jaushua Sotirio was the difference between the sides, with the Jets’ slim finals chances all but extinguished as a consequence of the result.

The Jets came into the game off the back of a 2-0 loss in Perth last week, but coach Scott Miller made just two forced changes to his line-up with Lachlan Jackson and Ben Kantarovski replacing the suspended Daniel Mullen and Jason Hoffman.

The visitors, meanwhile, were undone by a late comeback from Brisbane Roar last week, going down 3-2 at Suncorp Stadium. Tony Popovic, as a result, opted for experience over youth, replacing Brendan Hamill and Gol Gol Mebrahtu with Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Mark Bridge.

It was the Wanderers who started the better of the two sides, and after 15 minutes, were controlling over 75% of possession in the match.

In front of goal, Western Sydney were dangerous, with Topor-Stanley twice heading over from corners in the 13th and 15th minutes of the match.

Two minutes later, though, and the visitors would take the lead.

After Bridge was played through onside, his cut-back toward the penalty spot was just out of reach of both Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighiti and the Wanderers’ Mitch Nichols. Jaushua Sotirio, however, was the first to react to the ball eluding the players at the near post, firing home with aplomb at the back post to make it 1-0.

Sotirio almost had a second goal in the 21st minute, after a cross-field switch found the forward in acres of space. After cutting inside onto his right boot, Sotirio unleashed a shot across goal which required the intervention of Birighitti to tip it around the post.

Romeo Castelen had a perfect opportunity to double the advantage after half an hour, when he was played into the left side of the penalty area by Dimas Delgado. With just the goalkeeper to beat, though, the Wanderers’ midfielder inexplicably put his shot wide of the near post.

The Jets had started to worm their way back into the contest following the opening goal, but despite the possession count evening out, Newcastle were still struggling to penetrate into the Wanderers defensive area.

Newcastle started the second half well, and in the 48th minute, they had a golden chance to equalise.

Leonardo advanced with the ball through the middle of the park before laying off to his left for Trifunovic who, rather than cross to the back post, decided to shoot at the near post instead. The shot, however, could only find the side netting, with Reddy well positioned to cover the angle.

Scott Neville, Bridge and Andreu all had chances shortly afterward for the visitors, but Birighitti fashioned a series of stellar saves to deny the Wanderers an elusive second goal.

Newcastle were now well and truly under similar pressure to that that they were subjected to in the first half, with the Wanderers keeping them contained to their defensive half of the pitch.

Despite that dominance, though, the Wanderers were still unable to find a second goal, despite a plethora of chances.

Conversely, Newcastle came within inches of equalising off an 81st minute free kick to Leonardo.

Rather than shoot, the Brazilian drifted a cross to the back post where Nigel Boogaard was well positioned. Frustratingly for the majority of the 12,153 fans in attendance, Boogaard’s free header crashed back off the woodwork, allowing the Wanderers to clear.

That would be the Jets’ last chance of the contest, with the Wanderers doing enough to earn the three points. Western Sydney now return home to host Adelaide United next week in Parramatta, whilst the Jets travel to Melbourne to face the Victory next Sunday.


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About the author

avatarJustin is a passionate football fan, and the Editor-in-chief of Ultimate A-League.

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  • britesparke

    Wanderers were lucky to walk away with the three points, although they dominated for periods in the match, the Jets were always dangerous on the counter attack and nearly forced a draw. Such profligacy in the front third (15 shots on goal with only one of these converted) is a real concern going in to the business end of the season. Need more “efficient” attacking weapons up front to support Bridge. The Roar, Adelaide and Melbourne City are huge threats.