Newcastle Jets were defeated 1-0 by the Western Sydney Wanderers after Jaushua Sotirio’s first half strike proved enough for the visitors on Sunday.
Scott Miller’s men came as close as hitting the post and having a shot cleared off the line but were unable to find a late equaliser despite fighting their way back into the contest and launching a series of assaults on the Wanderers’ goal in the closing stages.
Tony Popovic’s team made the better start of the two sides in the game.
The visitors were able to capitalise on their early ascendancy when Mark Bridge found space in behind. Bridge’s cutback missed the first line of attackers and defenders, but found Sotirio at the back post. Sotirio was able to lift his first time effort over the scrambling Nigel Boogaard and Mark Birighitti.
The score line may have been worse only minutes later if not for the efforts of Birighitti who got down well and reacted to deny Bridge who was through one-on-one.The Jets ground their way into the contest late in the first half however, countering with more conviction. Newcastle created their best chance of the first 45 when Morten Nordstrand found Milos Trifunovic with a clever reverse pass. Trifunovic just lost his footing at the wrong moment as he was attempted to control the ball.
The second half was a much more open affair as the Jets pushed to get something out of the game. However both Jets and Wanderers would spurn opportunities to add to the scoreline.
First Trifunovic was unable to pick out Enver Alivodic in the box, striking his cross-shot into the side netting. At the other end Bridge found space in the area to swivel and shoot just over the crossbar from close range.
Twice Mark Birighitti pulled off classy saves to deny former teammate Scott Neville and Wanderers’ Spanish midfielder Andreu.
Mateo Poljak drew a solid save from Liam Reddy in the 59th minute, as did Leonardo in the 66th.
It was a determined second half performance from Scott Miller’s side who were unlucky not to find an equaliser ten minutes from time as Jets captain Nigel Boogaard got onto the end of a set piece. Wanderers keeper Reddy was beaten, but Boogaard’s header crashed off the post.
The Jets continued to press to get a late goal and almost did in added time through the most unlikely of sources, goalkeeper Birighitti. Birighitti came forward for a corner and sent a firm strike at goal but had his shot cleared off the line.
The Jets will play their round 24 match away to Melbourne Victory on Sunday 20 March, while Western Sydney Wanderers host Adelaide United next Saturday.
Newcastle Jets 0
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Sotirio 17’)
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Referee: Koichiro Fukushima
Newcastle Jets: 1. Mark Birighitti (Gk), 4. Nigel Boogaard, 5. Ben Kantarovski, 7. Enver Alivodic, 8. Mateo Poljak, 9. Milos Trifunovic (28. Ryan Kitto 73’), 10. Leonardo, 16. Steven Ugarkovic, 19. Morten Nordstrand, 22. Lachlan Jackson, 24. Nicholas Cowburn
Substitutes not used: 6. Cameron Watson, 14. Mitch Cooper, 17. Radovan Pavicevic, 20. Ben Kennedy (Gk)
Yellow cards: Jackson
Red cards: Nil
Western Sydney Wanderers: 3. Scott Jamieson, 4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley (C), 6. Mitch Nichols, 7. Romeo Castelen (10. Dario Vidosic 68’), 8. Dimas, 12. Scott Neville, 16. Jaushua Sotirio (11. Brendon Santalab 63’), 17. Alberto, 18. Andreu (15. Kearyn Baccus 84’), 19. Mark Bridge, 30. Liam Reddy (Gk)
Substitutes not used: 2. Shannon Cole, 20. Andrew Redmayne (Gk)
Yellow cards: Bridge, Alberto, Dimas
Red cards: Nil