The Newcastle Jets have been defeated 1-nil by Wellington Phoenix at Ausgrid Stadium on Friday night.
he Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets have had a disappointing finish to Round 16 with a 1 goal loss to the Wellington Phoenix at Ausgrid Stadium on Friday night.
The Jets now have just five days to turn their form around as they take on Adelaide United in Bathurst on Wednesday night.
It was a game of two halves with the Jets dominating proceedings in the first half, although they were unable to find the back of the net.
Wellington was the first side to cause a threat and Ben Kennedy was forced to make a save just six minutes in to deny Chris Greenacre on the edge of the area.
The Jets found their stride shortly after and were getting into good positions, Ryan Griffiths volleyed over the bar after a great switch of play from Michael Bridges and cross from Sung-Hwan Byun.
Bridges was at his creative best early on and executed an elaborate back heel to provide Ben Kantarovski with a shooting opportunity, but his volley went over the cross bar.
Tarek Elrich, who was presented with a jersey after he become the most capped Newcastle Jets player prior to kick-off, almost scored when he forced a diving save from Wellington goalkeeper Mark Paston with his volley on 24 minutes.
The home side continued to move forward chasing a goal before the half time break, while providing some entertaining passages of play the Jets were unable to break the deadlock as both sides remained goalless.
Wellington took the lead on 58 minutes with a great finish from Manny Muscat who cut inside his defender before curling his shot into the top corner with a great finish.
Captain Andrew Durante led a counter attack from this own penalty area for Paul Ifill to send in an inch perfect cross for striker Dani Sanchez, but he missed the target after latching onto the cross in front of goal.
Newcastle pushed forward in the final minutes to chase a result, but Wellington-s defence held strong to keep a clean sheet and claim the three points.
A disappointed Jets striker Ryan Griffiths said “it was really hard to break them down after they scored."
While Coach Gary van Egmond was clearly disappointed with what he felt was a match the Jets should have won.
"If you look at the mainstay of the game we had enough possession to win two games but you have to be creative enough and punish them," he said.
"In the first half we had a couple of fairly decent opportunities and we didn't take them.
"We knew they were a solid unit and we knew they were going to come here and make it difficult for us to score.
"I felt we were building up quite nicely from the past two games and the performance again tonight was okay.
"The problem for us was the fact that we weren't clever enough in that final third to open people up and I thought our ball movement was too slow and too careful at times.
"We've got a game on Wednesday and another in Brisbane so the good thing about football is a quick turnaround and we will be looking to make up the loss then."
Newcastle Jets FC 0 Wellington Phoenix FC 1 (M. Muscat 58-)
Newcastle Jets line up: 1. Ben KENNEDY (GK), 2. Taylor REGAN, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 8. Jeremy BROCKIE, 9. Michael BRIDGES (22. Ali ABBAS 75-), 10. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 11.Tarek ELRICH (14. Labinot HALITI 65-), 13. Sung-Hwan BYUN, 23. Ryan GRIFFITHS (c), 25. Jacob PEPPER (12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE 65-) Substitutes not used:19. Mathew NASH (GK)
Wellington Phoenix line up: 1. Mark PATSON (GK), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 6. Tim BROWN, 8. Paul ILFILL (11. DANIEL 92-), 9. Chris GREENACRE, 12. Nick WARD (7. Leo BERTOS 65-), 18. Ben SIGMUND, 21.Dani SANCHEZ (19. James DOWNEY 87-), 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 24. Alexander SMITH Substitutes not used:20. Tony WARNER (GK)