Phoenix too hot for Jets

The Newcastle Jets have suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Wellington Phoenix in round 15 of the Hyundai A-League played in sweltering heat at EnergyAustralia Stadium this evening.

The Newcastle Jets have suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Wellington Phoenix in round 15 of the Hyundai A-League played in sweltering heat at EnergyAustralia Stadium this evening.

Despite enjoying their share of the possession and territory, the Jets couldn-t restore parity to the match after Barbados international Paul Ifill gave the Phoenix a 13th minute lead.

Sneaking in at the near post following a cross from Tony Lochhead, Ifill managed just to get a boot in before Jets defender Ljubo Milicevic, leaving Newcastle custodian Neil Young with no chance from six yards.

The scorching conditions in Newcastle influenced the attacking intent of both teams in the first half and while after Ifill-s opener the Jets were keen to attack, Wellington reverted to defending their advantage.

Despite their endeavour the Jets were limited only to half chances with Labinot Haliti and Jin-Hyung Song both firing high from long range, while the Jets had keeper Young to thank for ensuring they were only behind by one at the break.

In first half stoppage time New Zealand International midfielder Leo Bertos swung in an inch perfect ball from the right side, with Ifill firing goal ward. Young, alert to the threat of the former Crystal Palace attacker made an outstanding reflex save, tipping over the bar.

Branko Culina-s men returned from half time continuing to dominate possession but lacking the final decisive ball needed to put them back on level terms.

15 minutes into the second stanza Culina saw his team needed some inspiration in the energy sapping temperatures, and chose to deploy fresh legs by way of Kaz Patafta and Ben Kantarovski in favour of Sean Rooney and Adam D-Apuzzo.

These changes seemed to liven the Jets attack and while Wellington enjoyed a half chance with Bertos forcing a save from Young on 62 minutes, the Jets did begin to create more with this pair on the park.

Shortly after their arrival Haliti was denied by Paston one-on-one after a Vignaroli through ball while the Kosovo-born attacker went even closer just eight minutes later.

Supplied by a free-kick delivered by Song from the right side, Haliti headed only inches wide of Paston-s post.

With time running down and Newcastle still needing a level to secure a point from the encounter the home faithful of 4,239 who braved the oppressive conditions urged the Jets on.

In the 89th minute Haliti, who had been at the heart of the Jets- best moments all match headed at goal following a Patafta corner and Vignaroli flick on only for Paston to save smartly on his line.

Then, in what was virtually the final play of the match, Patafta split the Wellington defence with a crafty pass with Jets skipper Matt Thompson steaming onto the ball. Firing a cross across the face of goal, Vignaroli scuffed his effort wide of Paston-s frame with the goal at his mercy.

Moments later referee Peter Green called time on a game of few clear cut opportunities, but one the Jets will be disappointed they did not take at least a point from.

Newcastle mentor Culina was understandably frustrated with the result.

“It-s hard to accept, it-s disappointing, but if you don-t play well enough you can-t expect to win games.”

“We-ve just got to take one week at a time and today was a good opportunity at home against a team that are there and abouts. There was no reason why Wellington should have been in a position where they wanted it more than we did,” he concluded.

Match Details: Newcastle Jets Squad: 20. Neil YOUNG (gk), 3. Adam D-APUZZO (6. Ben KANTAROVSKI 61-), 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 7. Jin-Hyung SONG, 8. Matt THOMPSON (c), 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE (2. Angelo COSTANZO 80-), 15. Sean ROONEY (22. Kaz PATAFTA 56-), 17. Fabio VIGNAROLI, 25. Labinot HALITI

Unused substitutes: 30. Dion SHAW (gk) Yellow cards: Vignaroli 35- Red cards: Nil

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 5. DIEGO, 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS (23. Costa BARBAROUSES 71-), 8. Paul IFILL (13. Troy HEARFIELD 85-), 9. Chris GREENACRE, 11. DANIEL (14. Adrian CACERES 63-), 18. Ben SIGMUND, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c)

Unused substitutes: 20. Reece CROWTHER (gk) Yellow cards: Nil Red cards: Nil

Newcastle Jets: 0 Wellington Phoenix: 1 (Ifill 13-) Referee: Peter Green Crowd: 4,239