Newcastle Jets produced a stunning second half comeback to draw 2-2 with Western Sydney Wanderers at Spotless Stadium on Sunday night.
Nigel Boogaard - who claimed the 20,000th goal in Australian National League history - and Andrew Hoole scored for the Jets in the second stanza to cancel out first half goals for Wanderers through Aritz Borda and Dimas Delgado (penalty).
The two sides traded possession in the opening quarter of the game, with some threatening plays and impressive footwork but not quite enough to light up the scoreboard.
Jets custodian Jack Duncan produced an excellent save in the 22nd minute to deny Jack Clisby, but the hosts were quick to come back on the attack. Aritz Borda opened scoring in the 24th minute - the Spaniard’s header from a corner striking the inside of the post before finding its way into the Jets’ goal.
Kerem Bulut earned himself a yellow card in the 27th minute after a rash challenge on Boogaard.
Lachlan Jackson was forced to the bench after copping a knock in the 40th minute. Former Wanderer Mateo Poljak entered the fray, which resulted in Ben Kantarovski shifting from midfield to centreback.
Kantarovski had his arm in the wrong spot just before half time, and the Jets conceded a penalty. Dimas made no mistake from 12 yards to give Tony Popovic’s team a two-goal buffer.
Duncan opened up the second half with a great save to deny Kearyn Baccus from further extending Wanderers’ lead.
Devante Clut made a promising run in the 55th minute but his effort after sneaking in behind Robert Cornthwaite lacked the power required to trouble Andrew Redmayne.
Four minutes later Duncan did well to deny Western Sydney’s Japanese whiz Jumpei Kusukami.
Newcastle kicked back into action in the 74th minute with Wayne Brown and Hoole letting off shots from promising positions, only to see their efforts smothered by the determined Wanderers defence.
But the Jets, desperate to keep their unbeaten start to Hyundai A-League season 12 alive, ensured that the first ever football game to be played at Spotless Stadium ended in a stalemate.
First Boogaard sent a crisp header into the back of the net in the 81st minute from Hoole’s free kick, before let fly with a strike direct from a free kick past Redmayne.
Both teams pushed on late in a bid to win the game, but referee Chris Beath called a halt to proceedings following four minutes of time added on to ensure that the fixture ended all square.
Newcastle Jets move to five points after the opening three rounds, while Wanderers have four. The Jets are in fourth position on the competition standings, while Western Sydney are in sixth.
Newcastle Jets will host Sydney FC at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday 29 October 2016. Kick-off is at 5:35pm.
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Borda 24’, Dimas 45+1’ (pen))
Newcastle Jets 2 (Boogaard 81’, Hoole 88’)
Venue: Spotless Stadium
Referee: Chris Beath
Attendance: 13, 247
Newcastle Jets: 4. Nigel Boogaard (C), 5. Benjamin Kantarovski, 6. Steven Ugarkovic, 7. Andrew Hoole, 10. Wayne Brown, 13. Ivan Vujica, 15. Andrew Nabbout (19. Morten Nordstrand 58’), 16. Nicholas Cowburn, 20. Jack Duncan (GK), 22. Lachlan Jackson (8. Mateo Poljak 40’), 23. Devante Clut (3. Jason Hoffman 76’)
Substitutes not used: 11. Labinot Haliti, 30. Pierce Clark
Yellow cards: Steven Ugarkovic 67’
Red cards: Nil
Western Sydney Wanderers: 3. Jack Clisby (5. Brendan Hamill 86’), 6. Mitchell Nichols, 7. Steven Lustica (10. Nicholas Martinez 58’), 8. Dimas (C), 9. Kerem Bulut (11. Brendon Santalab 76’), 12. Scott Neville, 14. Jumpei Kusukami, 15. Kearyn Baccus, 17. Aritz Borda, 18. Robert Cornthwaite, 20. Andrew Redmayne (GK)
Substitutes not used: 1. Jerrad Tyson (GK), 13. Bruno Pinatares
Yellow cards: Kerem Bulut 27’, Scott Neville 80’, Andrew Redmayne 87’
Red cards: Nil