The Wanderers fail to break down the Port Macquarie Pele

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It was the Wanderers’ turn to make the trip to Newcastle to face the Jets in Round 8 looking to bounce back from their 3-2 loss to Melbourne City. Babbel’s men and those in the Red and Black of Western Sydney were hoping for better refereeing after that penalty (never should’ve been a pen), while the hosts needed to build on their win from a fortnight ago having already had two byes for the season (again, not to complain but how does that work with eleven teams in the comp and only eight rounds so far?!). 

The home side were off to a lively start and it was Jason Hoffman with the first solid chance of the match in the 15th forcing Daniel Lopar to make a stunning save. It was time to batten down the hatches for the Wanderers who were getting flooded with pressure from the Jets. Nick Fitzgerald just couldn’t make the dink over the top of Lopar in the 31st and then after some pinball-esque football in the box the visitors managed to clear it in the 32nd. Ugarkovic was the next Jet to try his luck in front of Lopar’s goal in in the 37th from outside the box but his shot was just wide and Fitzgerald decided to try hit the back of the net from outside the area in the 39th but Lopar again was up to the task.

Seriously though, how did the Jets not find the back of the next in a first half performance that should’ve seen them a goal or two up? The answer is simple…

DANIEL LOPAR, WHAT A KEEPER.

He is earning every single dollar in his pay cheque and then some, not to take away from the Jets who dominated with the forward pressure. Would the Jets finally hit the back of the net in the second or would the Wanderers find their mojo…

The Wanderers looked to up their game in the second half trying to push forward with the likes of Duke, Yeboah and Georgievski and in another refereeing controversy the VAR was called into action. Kwame Yeboah was bought down in the box in the 54th minute and referee Kurt Ams initially signalled no penalty and I’ll admit at first I didn’t think it was either from the angle I could see on my TV but… After using the sideline monitor to check and the result was simple, THERE WAS NO WAY THAT WASN’T A PEN.

As we found out later it was decided that the contact made by Jackson was incidental and he apparently got the ball.
Sorry, but that was a ridiculous call especially with the ability to look back at the challenge in slow mo. Contact was made with Yeboah’s leg first which then caused him to stumble etc.

**Ok I know I’m not a referee but anyway**

My next thought was oh no imagine Babbel’s press conference following last week’s outburst. 

It was Mossy’s turn to make some a double save to deny the Wanderers in the 62nd before Mitchell Duke fired his shot over the crossbar from short range. How he missed that is beyond me and would the visitors regret not being able to capitalise on their chances? There was no way this would end in a scoreless draw surely?!

Lopar was once again forced to make save after save to stop the Jets, when finally, the goalkeeper god was beaten by Angus Thurgate in the 78th! Port Macquarie Pele found the back of the net in two consecutive games and this is where if you weren’t already on the play the youth bandwagon is where you jump on.

Could the Wanderers get something out this match or would the Jets continue their recent dominance at home against the Wanderers? To be fair to the visitors their performance was improving by the minute but they just could not find that needed equaliser.  It looked to be game over in the 86th when Dimi Petratos capitalised on a cheeky tap-in from Thurgate (seriously how good is the kid?!) after losing his defender and finding an open net, and the Jets were 2-0 to the good!

It was a tale of two halves for the Wanderers who looked to be sleeping for the majority of the first half and then started to play some decent enough football in the second and they have a chance to bounce back on their trip to face the Nix. As for the Jets, their persistence paid off with two wins in two games and are set to make the trip to Adelaide next week.

By Jakie Manevski

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