Another Saturday night of football, another home game for Western United who were looking to continue their stellar start to their maiden season. While the visiting Newcastle Jets were on a mission to build on their draw with the Glory last week, and earn their first win for the 2019/20 season.
In another instalment of “just A-League things” it was a delayed start following Scott McDonald’s ‘discussion’ with the referee who wasn’t happy about the tape over his wedding ring. For those who were watching at home, or if like me you just love Dimi Petratos you’d notice he was playing with his ring taped, as he does each game with no issue. (Yes I know the rule is no jewellery, but it was slightly amusing to watch Scott argue with the referee knowing Dimi was on the pitch also and escaped the eagle eyed referee).
In a theme that was developing with each WU game I have watched, it was a cagey slow start from the home side with both teams looking to ease into the match. As the first half continued it was the home side who looked to be enjoying most of the possession but after a few chances still failed to find the back of the net. In particular Connor Pain had his shot in the 14th minute on route to the back of the net blocked by Jackson and then Scott McDonald in the 16th went looking for the top corner but sent it flying beyond the post.
The momentum was starting to shift with the visiting Jets as they began to settle and push forward. Kurto was forced to make a double save in the 31st to deny both Angus Thurgate and Jason Hoffman who were itching to score. It was then Petratos’ turn to try his luck in front of goal in the 32nd but it was sent wide. In what should have been a warning for Rudan’s men, it was Angus Thurgate who found the back of the net in the 36th! He pounced on a beautiful through ball from Petratos and made no mistake in front of goal, slotting it past Kurto.
THE JETS WERE LEADING!
It was the spark that the game needed to be fair, with both teams going up a gear. Could WU find an equaliser before the break? Following a minute of added time, the answer was no. The Newcastle Jets headed into the sheds a goal up.
The match evened up in the second half with Western United being dubbed the “comeback kids” following their wins over the Melbourne Victory and Western Sydney Wanderers after trailing, could they do it again?
It was time for the home side to throw the kitchen sink at the Jets defence and it was Risdon who tried first in the 47th minute but the defenders managed to put him and his header off. Then it was Glen Moss who pushed the squaring ball from Pain away in the 53rd. It was Alessandro Diamanti’s turn to try find the equaliser for his side in the 58th when he went looking for the top corner from the top of the box but failed to find the target.
It was time for the substitute Stamatelopoulos to try his luck, on the end of a flat cross but he headed the ball over the bar in the 69th. It was safe to say Mossy was earning every single dollar of his pay packet, having an absolute stellar game in the goal for the Jets. That was until the 70th minute when WU via Risdon finally found their equaliser.
THEY REALLY ARE THE COMEBACK KIDS?!
Or so we thought until our old mate VAR was called up to check the build-up in play. Turns out Besart Berisha was offside, NO GOAL! I know we all like to complain about the VAR but in my opinion it was the right call. Could the Jets hold on for another twenty or so minutes, or would the home side pinch a late equaliser?
Glen Moss take a bow! He was pulling out all the stops to deny WU time and time again. First it was Pain’s shot in the 73rd, then he had to tip Berisha’s header over the bar in the 74th and a 76th minute punch to clear a Diamanti ball toward the back post. The Jets were holding on for dear life at this point, and once the fourth official signalled three minutes of stoppage time could the Jets finally get their first win of the season?
It was Western United with the final chances of the match, Besart Berisha’s shot inside the box was again cleared by Moss one minute into the stoppage. It was left to Max Burgess to find a last minute equaliser but it was sent too high and over the goal.
THE JETS DID IT!
A well fought 1-0 away win in a game that ebbed and flowed. I was surprised the Western United lads couldn’t find an equaliser as we’ve seen them do so far this season, but a ‘we aren’t giving up’ Newcastle outfit with Mossy leading by example with his goalkeeping skills managed to hold on.
By Jakie Manevski