Newcastle Jets were defeated 2-0 by Western Sydney Wanderers in the first ever Christmas Eve contest in the Hyundai A-League on Thursday.
Goals from Alberto late in the first half as well as former Jets attacker Mark Bridge mid-way through the second stanza ensured Tony Popovic’s team extended their unbeaten run in this season’s competition to nine matches.
While Wanderers certainly were dangerous and enjoyed periods of dominance throughout the contest, the Jets enjoyed their own periods of superiority during the encounter and fashioned some strong opportunities to score throughout the game.
Ryan Kitto had his strike saved by Andrew Redmayne in the 15th minute after David Carney had supplied the youngster with a clever through-ball, while Milos Trifunovic had the ball taken off his toe by Scott Neville just as he was about to pull the trigger following a fluent team move shortly before half time.
The Jets were made to pay for their missed chances when Alberto headed a free kick into the back of net with one of the last actions of the opening period. The Spaniard’s goal came after Scott Miller’s men were denied a penalty at the other end --- the ball having appeared to strike the arm of former Jets defender Neville in the Wanderers’ box.
After a slow opening to the second stanza Newcastle were denied a great chance to restore parity to the contest when Trifunovic burst through on goal 64th minutes in, only to be incorrectly ruled offside.
Six minutes later Wanderers would double their advantage when Bridge twist and turned inside the box before slotting past Birighitti, who it should be noted had made some strong saves to deny some other Western Sydney chances throughout the fixture.
Newcastle Jets will start the New Year afresh on Sunday 3 January 2016 when the club hosts Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium in what is a Hyundai A-League/Westfield W-League double-header day,
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Alberto 45+2, Bridge 70’))
Newcastle Jets 0
Pirtek Stadium, Parramatta
Referee: Stephen Lucas
Newcastle Jets: 1. Mark Birighitti (Gk), 2. Daniel Mullen, 4. Nigel Boogaard (C), 5. Ben Kantarovski, 6. Cameron Watson, 7. Enver Alivodic, 8. Mateo Poljak, 9. Milos Trifunovic, 23. David Carney, 24. Nicholas Cowburn (22. Lachlan Jackson 46’), 28. Ryan Kitto (27. Braedyn Crowley 71’)
Substitutes not used: 14. Mitch Cooper, 17. Radovan Pavicevic, 20. Ben Kennedy (Gk)
Yellow cards: Cowburn, Carney, Trifunovic
Red cards: Nil
Western Sydney Wanderers: 3. Scott Jamieson, 4. Nikolai Topor-Stanley (C), 6. Mitch Nichols (10. Dario Vidosic 64’), 7. Romeo Castelen (11. Brendon Santalab 89’), 8. Dimas Delgado, 9. Federico Piovaccari, 12. Scott Neville, 17. Alberto Aguilar, 19. Mark Bridge (14. Golgol Mebrahtu 81’), 20. Andrew Redmayne (Gk), 21. Jacob Pepper
Substitutes not used: 1. Dean Bouzanis (Gk), 15. Kearyn Baccus
Yellow cards: Topor-Stanley, Jamieson, Vidosic
Red cards: Nil