A superb goalkeeping performance from Glen Moss and a fantastic finish from Angus Thurgate has given the Newcastle Jets their first victory of the season after a 1-0 win over Hyundai A-League newcomers Western United on Saturday evening in Geelong.
Ernie Merrick was forced to make two changes to the side that drew 1-1 with Perth due to international commitments, with Angus Thurgate and Ben Kantarovski coming in for Abdiel Arroyo and Matthew Ridenton respectively.
In our very first meeting with the Hyundai A-League’s newest outfit, the Jets started brightly and immediately looked dangerous on the counter-attack but just couldn’t find the final touch to open the scoring in the early stages.
An impressive double-save from Filip Kurto denied Nick Fitzgerald and then Jason Hoffman’s follow up in the 31st minute.
With Kantarovski controlling the midfield in his first start of the season, the Jets continued to look dangerous, and it was Newcastle who took the lead after some fantastic link-up play between Angus Thurgate and Dimi Petratos in the 36th minute.
Receiving the ball with his back to goal, Thurgate laid the ball off to Petratos, who then played a sublime return ball in behind the United defence which Thurgate coolly placed past the advancing Kurto to notch his second senior goal and give the Jets lead.
The goal was no more than the Jets deserved and the away side headed into the halftime interval with the one-goal lead courtesy of our most impressive half of the season so far.
Trailing at the break, Western United came out firing in the second period and looked to have levelled the scores in the 70th minute when Josh Risdon headed home Alessandro Diamanti’s cross, however VAR ruled out the equaliser because of an offside in the build-up.
The home side continued to create chances, but it was the brilliance of Jets custodian Glen Moss who kept the Jets in the lead by producing two fantastic saves in the space of 30 seconds to first deny Connor Pain, and then tip over Besart Berisha’s point-blank header from the resulting corner in the 74th minute.
With Lachlan Jackson and Nikolai Topor-Stanley defending resolutely at the back, the Jets worked tirelessly to thwart Western United’s waves of attacks and as the game entered injury time, it was Moss once again who secured the win as he denied Berisha in the 91st minute and guided the Jets to their first victory of the season.
The Jets have the bye in Round 7, but will be back in action at home against the Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday 30 November.