A 10-man Newcastle Jets have recorded a gritty 3-1 win over Wellington Phoenix at Hunter Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Jets were gifted the opener with Milos Trifunovic giving the hosts an early lead from the spot before Ryan Kitto netted his maiden goal in the Hyundai A-League to put the hosts 2-0 up midway through the first half.
David Carney sealed the points with a sucker punch in the 66th minute before substitute Matthew Ridenton netted a consolation strike for the Phoenix with less than 10 minutes remaining.
1-0 (Milos Trifunovic 7’) - Phoenix youngster Dylan Fox clumsily bundled into Trifunovic inside the area with the referee rightly awarding a spot kick. The Serbian striker coolly stepped up from 12 yards and made no mistake, dispatching a confident strike past Glen Moss.
2-0 (Ryan Kitto 26’) – Enver Alivodic played David Carney in behind with a beautiful through ball with the former Socceroo’s strike forcing a neat save from Glen Moss. But the Phoenix custodian could only parry the ball away which allowed Ryan Kitto to pounce, with the 21-year-old able to slot the ball into an empty net to record his first A-League strike.
3-0 (David Carney 66’) - Alivodic sprung Phoenix’s offside trap with a superb pass to release Carney, who composed himself before coolly slotting past Glen Moss.
3-1 (Matthew Ridenton 81’) – Blake Powell was afforded to much space on the edge of the box before whipping in a fizzing ball which was well tucked away by Ridenton.
With his side down 2-0 on the stroke of half-time, Phoenix striker Blake Powell wriggled free of Jets defender Lachlan Jackson before unleashing a smart strike on the turn which narrowly breezed past the post. A fantastic effort but the near miss could have changed the complexion of the match had it gone the right side of the stick for the visitors.
David Carney has been one of the few shining lights for the Jets this season and the 32-year-old was again sensational in front of the Hunter Stadium faithful. After setting up the hosts’ second goal, the attacker capped a stellar performance with a well-taken strike midway through the second stanza to kill off a resurgent Phoenix.
After picking up a booking in the first half for a poor challenge on Roly Bonevacia, Jets midfielder Ben Kantarovski was walking a tightrope in the middle of the park. With the Phoenix in the ascendency at the start of the second stanza, Kantarovski foolishly lunged in on Phoenix midfielder Vince Lia, with the referee rightly showing him a second yellow card. A poor effort from one of the Jets’ more experienced players.
THE FINAL WORD
The Jets will take confidence after ending their six-match goalless run in impressive fashion, with David Carney and Enver Alivodic shining lights against the Phoenix.
Scott Miller’s decision to utilise David Carney as a second striker alongside Milos Trifunovic in a 4-4-2 formation was a masterstroke from the rookie boss and could point to a change in tact for the Jets in the final 12 rounds.
The Phoenix will be disappointed to walk away from Hunter Stadium after dominating large periods of play, especially in the second half.
Injuries to Roy Krishna, Jeffrey Sarpong, Ben Sigmund and Louis Fenton has tested Wellington’s depth and Ernie Merrick may need to look to the transfer market to bolster his squad.
Newcastle Jets: Birighitti (gk), Mullen, Hoffman, Boogard, Kantarovski, Alivodic, Poljak, Trifunovic (Cowburn 66’), Jackson, Carney (Leonardo 94'), Kitto (Cooper 82’)
Wellington Phoenix: Moss (gk), Gulley (Doyle 45’), Bonevacia, Danaskos (Ridenton 77’), Fox, Rodriguez (Appiah-Kubi 62’), McGlinchey, Powell, Riera, Lia, Durante
Scorers: Trifunovic 7’, Kitto 26’, Carney 66’, Ridenton 81’
Red cards: Kantarovski 58’
Yellow cards: Kantarovski 36’, 58, Fox 38', Poljak 85'
Conditions: Partly cloudy 22c