Cruel Boogaard own goal denies Jets three points in 1-1 draw with Sky Blues
A disastrous own goal scored inadvertently by Nigel Boogaard ensured Newcastle Jets squandered a one-goal lead to draw 1-1 with Sydney FC at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday evening.
After a goalless opening half, Roy O'Donovan benefited from a divisive penalty call to put the home side into the lead with half an hour left on the clock.
But the league's bottom-placed side failed to capitalise on their advantage, as the Sky Blues hit back in the 76th minute. The danger of a Trent Buhagiar cross skimming along the face of goal seemed to be dissipating when Connor O'Toole arrived on the scene to clear, but the Jets defender lashed his clearance directly into the chest of Boogaard, who watched helplessly as the ball diverted into his own net.
Valentino Yuel emerged from the bench for the home side and looked perfectly placed to restore Newcastle's lead when Millar's cut-back arrived at his feet as he drove into space in the box, but the first-time shot skied over the bar as the late chance went begging.
The result ensured Newcastle's winless run extended to 12 games. The Sky Blues, meanwhile, moved to second spot with the point - joining three other teams placed second to fifth locked on 32 points.
The Sky Blues got on the front foot early before Newcastle improved to close out the first half with the better of the late opportunities.
Kosta Barbarouses failed to capitalise on a number of first-half opportunities, lobbing one attempt over the bar before seeing a volley off Joel King's cross and a strike from a one-two with Alexander Baumjohann both kept out by Lewis Italiano's excellent glove-work.
Miloš Ninković was the next Sky Blue to test Italiano, slaloming into the box on a dribbling run before shooting low to the left of the Jets 'keeper, but Italiano got a strong leg on the shot to keep the Serbian at bay.
A Baumjohann free-kick on the cusp of the half-hour mark met Bobô's head and the Sydney forward's header sailed toward goal before dropping onto the roof of the net, as the Jets survived another attack produced by the visiting side.
But Newcastle grew in stature late in the first 45. Luka Prso called Andrew Redmayne into a diving save from a shot from the tip of the box before Millar sent Jason Hoffman in on goal with a pass slid down the right side of the 18-yard box, only for Redmayne to come up with another convincing save to deny the hosts an unlikely opening goal.
The Jets' impressive end to the first half carried over into the second 45, when the home side emerged from the sheds to take the lead through an O'Donovan spot kick.
The decision to award the Jets a penalty came in controversial circumstances when referee Alex King was advised by the VAR to have a second look at a Bobô handball in the box after the Sky Blues forward tangled with Newcastle defender Lachlan Jackson who had ventured forward to attack a cross delivered to the back post.
King ventured to the VAR screen to assess the contact after Jackson rose above his marker to head the ball into Bobô's arm, and returned to the scene to award the home side a penalty.
Roy O'Donovan stepped up after the considerable delay to dispatch his shot with authority past Redmayne to give the home side a one-goal lead.
Steve Corica brought Buhagiar off the bench with his side trailing in the second half, and he young striker went close to making an instant impact with a thumping header which shook the crossbar but couldn't find the back of the net.
Baumjohann went down in the box under contact from Nicolai Topor-Stanley in the immediate aftermath but the collision lacked real vigour and the penalty claim was waved away.
The Sky Blues felt hard done by in the awarding of Newcastle's go-ahead penalty, but luck turned in favour of the away side when the Jets gifted them a way back into the game in calamitous circumstances.
Buhagiar - who offered a brilliant spark off the bench for Sydney - latched onto a well-placed through pass from Anthony Caceres to squeeze the ball across goal into a very dangerous area. There were no Sky Blue forwards on hand to attack the ball, but O'Toole's clearance thundered into the chest of Boogaard, deflecting back toward goal and into the back of the net.
Jets heads dropped as the visitors celebrated a gift of an equalising goal.
Yuel came off the bench with less than ten minutes to play as Craig Deans looked to find a quick answer to Sydney's equaliser.
The substitute failed from a gilt-edged opportunity with stoppage time beckoning. Millar set off on a marauding run down the right flank, and found Yuel in space in the box with a neat cut-back pass into the danger area. But Yuel's shot sailed high over the crossbar as the final genuine chance of the night for either team went begging at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Western United v Sydney FC
Saturday, May 15 2021
Kick-off: 2.35pm AEST
Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners
Saturday, May 15 2021
McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-off: 7.10pm AEST
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