Clinical Jets soar over woeful Wanderers in the wet
Newcastle Jets have breathed new life into the Hyundai A-League finals hopes, thrashing a hapless Western Sydney Wanderers 5-1 at a drenched ANZ Stadium on Friday night.
The Jets came into this match as the lowest scorers in the competition but made a mockery of that stat as they made an emphatic statement heading into the last third of the regular season.
Roy O’Donovan finished with a brace of penalties for the visitors, while Dimitri Petratos, Jason Hoffman and Matthew Ridenton also got on the scoresheet for Ernie Merrick’s men.
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Debutant Mitch Duke came off the bench and scored within 19 seconds of his introduction but it was the only bright point of a miserable night for the Wanderers.
The defeat means the Wanderers have now lost their last seven games in a row at ANZ Stadium, while their winless run is now at 10 games with their finals hopes extinguished.
But the Jets have now closed to within eight points of the top six and will have received a huge confident boost heading into their final 10 games.
In an end-to-end start to the match, the Jets took control thanks to two goals in the space of four minutes midway through the first half.
First Petratos showed his class when he received the ball on the right side of the box, cutting back inside onto his left and curling an inch-perfect shot into the far corner.
Then on 22 minutes, Hoffman was quickest to react when Daniel Georgievski’s initial shot was blocked, tucking away the rebound with a composed finish.
The visitors were dominating on the scoreboard but still needed Glen Moss to make a number of important saves to keep the Wanderers at bay.
It would get worse for the home side in first-half stoppage-time as Mark Tokich’s clumsy tackle on Ronny Vargas in the box saw the Jets awarded their first penalty of the season.
While Vedran Janjetovic saved O’Donovan’s initial attempts, the rebound fell straight to the Irishman who controlled the ball on his chest before firing it in for a 3-0 lead at the break.
There was no let-up from the Jets on the resumption, with Ridenton adding to the Wanderers’ woes on 49 minutes, before O’Donovan slotted his second penalty of the night on the hour mark.
Duke’s goal midway through the half was mere consolation for the Wanderers, whose shocking night was compounded with a groin injury to their Caltex Socceroos defender Josh Risdon.
See all the goals and relive all the action in our LIVE BLOG below.