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Wanderers steady ship with controversial win

Newcastle Jets 0 Western Sydney Wanderers 1

Youssouf Hersi and Andrew Hoole eye the ball.

Youssouf Hersi and Andrew Hoole eye the ball. Photo: Getty Images

It was hardly a crisis for the Western Sydney Wanderers but after three weeks without a win, a steadying night was required.

Yet heading up to Newcastle to face a side who had won four of their past five meant this was hardly a banker. They had to be smart about it.

Over the subsequent 90 minutes, the Wanderers rolled up their sleeves and put in a dogged, dour display. All they needed was a goal.

Taylor Regan takes on the Wanderers' defence.

Taylor Regan takes on the Wanderers' defence. Photo: Getty Images

Time
90.00
Team
NWJ
Score
0
Team
WST
Score
1
Newcastle Jets FC versus Western Sydney FC
View Match Statistics
Players Goals Bridge (33min)

Eventually it came, even though the circumstances were controversial after a suspected push from Labinot Haliti on Jacob Pepper as he headed Shinji Ono’s cross back across goal.

Another former Jets’ forward, Mark Bridge – so adept at torturing his former clubs – was the beneficiary. That’s his sixth goal against the club he scored the winner for in the 2008 grand final.

From there it was simply a matter of holding firm but while Newcastle never stopped trying, they lacked invention, and when one Wanderers’ player was beaten, another had his back.

The slow-turning meat grinder of last season was functioning perfectly once again.

“I’m pleased for the players because they’ve performed well and haven’t got the rewards in the last three weeks. There’s a lot of belief in that dressing room,” said coach Tony Popovic. “I’m really pleased that they performed well again in difficult conditions – it was really windy out there at times – against a team full of confidence. It was a fantastic win.

“Getting that goal in the first half made it that bit easier. We defended very well as a team and when we went forward, we looked dangerous.”

At full time, the Newcastle players sunk to their knees in bewilderment. They need to study the tape of this one. There’s lots of lessons there for Gary van Egmond and his players.

“They gave their heart and soul and really tried as much as they could,” he said. “Maybe in that final third we lacked that right decision or pass or touch. We started very well and controlled the game but we didn’t make enough clear cut chances and you have to against this team. Unfortunately, we paid the price.”

Hunter Stadium will always hold a piece of Wanderers’ folklore, for it was where they won the league last season, capped with a thumping 3-0 win in front of 7000 of their travelling fans.

Only half made the journey north on this occasion but their presence was hard to miss. It is a credit to the Wanderers’ faithful that all matches in this state, be they home or away, their voices stay the loudest.

Besides, with five in their starting side who previously called Newcastle home, it was familiar territory for fans and players.

One major blow for the Jets came even before kickoff with gun forward Nathan Burns ruled out after his knee swelled after training on Friday.

Knee soreness also sidelined marquee striker Emile Heskey, meaning Newcastle’s front line was spearheaded by Adam Taggart, James Brown and Andrew Hoole: a trio boasting a combined age of 63. When Brown was substituted off after an hour for James Virgili, it dropped to 61.

While the Jets dominated the early exchanges, they were arguably quite lucky to have their full complement on the field when Mark Birighitti handled the ball outside the box.

But karma would redeem the Wanderers when Ono supplied a deep cross that Haliti nodded to Bridge, who looped his header over Birighitti.

However, nobody expected the goal to be given, as Haliti clearly impeded Pepper in the build up. However, referee Jarred Gillett ignored the protestations. Bridge could have even doubled the advantage when his header met the crossbar on the stroke of half-time.

Newcastle were again on top in the second half – their possession still hovering around 60 per cent – but they simply couldn’t unlock the stubborn opposition.

Indeed, if there is one team you don’t want to fall behind against, it’s one coached by Tony Popovic. The gaps provided by others are seldom offered by his team.

Newcastle were denied a penalty claim when Taggart was outmuscled by Matthew Spiranovic but replays showed the striker simply failed to hold his ground.

That seemed a rather fitting metaphor for the home side’s evening.

 

4 comments so far

  • I'm a Newcastle fan but no way was Haliti's jump or "push" controversial. He hardly touched the Jets defender, it was just sleepy defending and a lack of any forward motion that caused the Jets to lose.

    Commenter
    Smoky
    Date and time
    December 15, 2013, 11:26AM
    • Every one else except the Ref and smoky must have seen the push

      Commenter
      Jen Gannaway
      Location
      Newcastle
      Date and time
      December 15, 2013, 10:46PM
  • As a neutral, some of the decisions that WSW are getting seem to be increasingly ridiculous. The push that preceded their 'goal' was blatantly clear to everyone except the referee and assistants. We all know the FFA desperately wants them to be champions after they lost out to the better team last year, but the assists they are getting this year are pretty ordinary unless you are part of the red and black pack...

    Commenter
    Duke
    Date and time
    December 15, 2013, 12:53PM
    • The point is wether or not it was significant as far as the outcome was concerned - it wasn't. If he kissed him it would have been more of a hindrance. To suggest it is part of an FFA conspiracy is as bizarre as people who claim they have been abducted by aliens. Every team has decisions they are not happy with, that is football. If you don't like it Duke, go and watch darts.

      Commenter
      gfly
      Date and time
      December 17, 2013, 1:54AM

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      Hyundai A - 2014-15 - All Rounds

      Round 1
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      CCM 1 vs NEW Stats
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      WEL 1 vs PER 2 Stats
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      Fri, 24 OctTimes shown AEDT
      BRI vs SYD 20:00SS
      Sat, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
      VIC vs MEC 19:30ES
      Sun, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
      WEL vs NEW 16:00WS
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      Round 4
      Fri, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
      MEC vs ADE 19:30AAMI
      Sat, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
      PER vs NEW 17:00NIB
      WST vs BRI 19:30Pirtek Stadium
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      SYD vs CCM 16:00AS
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      VIC vs WEL 19:30AAMI
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      Round 5
      Fri, 07 NovTimes shown AEDT
      WEL vs WST 18:30WS
      ADE vs SYD 20:15Coopers Stadium
      Sat, 08 NovTimes shown AEDT
      NEW vs VIC 17:00HUN
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      CCM vs PER 17:00Central Coast Stadium
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      Round 6
      Fri, 14 NovTimes shown AEDT
      NEW vs BRI 19:30HUN
      Sat, 15 NovTimes shown AEDT
      ADE vs WEL 17:00Coopers Stadium
      SYD vs VIC 19:30AS
      PER vs WST 21:45NIB
      Sun, 16 NovTimes shown AEDT
      MEC vs CCM 17:00AAMI
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      Round 7
      Fri, 21 NovTimes shown AEDT
      VIC vs BRI 19:30ES
      Sat, 22 NovTimes shown AEDT
      WST vs NEW 17:00Pirtek Stadium
      MEC vs SYD 19:30AAMI
      PER vs WEL 21:45NIB
      Sun, 23 NovTimes shown AEDT
      CCM vs ADE 17:00Central Coast Stadium
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      Round 8
      Fri, 28 NovTimes shown AEDT
      VIC vs ADE 19:00AAMI
      Sat, 29 NovTimes shown AEDT
      BRI vs PER 17:00SS
      WST vs SYD 19:30Pirtek Stadium
      Sun, 30 NovTimes shown AEDT
      WEL vs MEC 16:00WS
      NEW vs CCM 17:00HUN
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      Round 9
      Wed, 03 DecTimes shown AEDT
      BRI vs NEW 20:00SS
      Tue, 09 DecTimes shown AEDT
      WST vs PER 19:30TBC
      Thu, 08 JanTimes shown AEDT
      WEL vs SYD 17:30WS
      Mon, 02 FebTimes shown AEDT
      VIC vs CCM 19:30AAMI
      Wed, 25 MarTimes shown AEDT
      ADE vs MEC 19:30Coopers Stadium
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      Round 10
      Thu, 04 DecTimes shown AEDT
      SYD vs PER 19:30AS
      Fri, 05 DecTimes shown AEDT
      CCM vs VIC 19:30TBC
      Sat, 06 DecTimes shown AEDT
      NEW vs WEL 17:00HUN
      ADE vs WST 20:00Coopers Stadium
      Sun, 07 DecTimes shown AEDT
      MEC vs BRI 17:00AAMI
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      Round 11
      Fri, 12 DecTimes shown AEDT
      ADE vs BRI 19:30Coopers Stadium
      PER vs NEW 21:45NIB
      Sat, 13 DecTimes shown AEDT
      WEL vs CCM 16:00EP
      WST vs MEC 17:00Pirtek Stadium
      VIC vs SYD 19:30ES
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      Round 12
      Fri, 19 DecTimes shown AEDT
      BRI vs WST 20:00SS
      Sat, 20 DecTimes shown AEDT
      NEW vs ADE 17:00HUN
      MEC vs VIC 19:30AAMI
      PER vs CCM 21:45NIB
      Sun, 21 DecTimes shown AEDT
      SYD vs WEL 17:00AS
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      Round 13
      Fri, 26 DecTimes shown AEDT
      MEC vs PER 17:30AAMI
      SYD vs ADE 19:30AS
      Sat, 27 DecTimes shown AEDT
      CCM vs BRI 17:00Central Coast Stadium
      VIC vs NEW 19:30AAMI
      Sun, 28 DecTimes shown AEDT
      WEL vs WST 17:00WS
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      Round 14
      Tue, 30 DecTimes shown AEDT
      NEW vs MEC 17:00HUN
      BRI vs SYD 20:00SS
      Wed, 31 DecTimes shown AEDT
      ADE vs WEL 19:30Coopers Stadium
      Thu, 01 JanTimes shown AEDT
      WST vs CCM 19:30Pirtek Stadium
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      VIC vs PER 19:30Simonds Stadium
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      Round 15
      Sat, 03 JanTimes shown AEDT
      SYD vs NEW 19:30WIN Stadium
      Sun, 04 JanTimes shown AEDT
      WEL vs BRI 15:00WS
      CCM vs MEC 17:00Central Coast Stadium
      Mon, 05 JanTimes shown AEDT
      PER vs ADE 23:00NIB
      Tue, 06 JanTimes shown AEDT
      WST vs VIC 19:30Pirtek Stadium
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      Round 16
      Sat, 24 JanTimes shown AEDT
      ADE vs NEW 17:00Coopers Stadium
      CCM vs SYD 19:30Central Coast Stadium
      Sun, 25 JanTimes shown AEDT
      PER vs VIC 20:00NIB
      Sun, 01 FebTimes shown AEDT
      BRI vs WEL 15:00SS
      MEC vs WST 17:00AAMI
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      Round 17
      Fri, 06 FebTimes shown AEDT
      NEW vs BRI 19:30HUN
      Sat, 07 FebTimes shown AEDT
      CCM vs ADE 17:00Central Coast Stadium
      VIC vs MEC 19:30ES
      PER vs SYD 21:45NIB
      Sun, 08 FebTimes shown AEDT
      WST vs WEL 17:00Pirtek Stadium
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      Round 18
      Fri, 13 FebTimes shown AEDT
      CCM vs BRI 19:30Central Coast Stadium
      Sat, 14 FebTimes shown AEDT
      WEL vs MEC 16:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
      NEW vs WST 17:00HUN
      SYD vs VIC 19:30AS
      Sun, 15 FebTimes shown AEDT
      ADE vs PER 17:00Coopers Stadium
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      Round 19
      Fri, 20 FebTimes shown AEDT
      BRI vs VIC 20:00SS
      Sat, 21 FebTimes shown AEDT
      SYD vs CCM 17:00AS
      ADE vs WST 20:00Coopers Stadium
      Sun, 22 FebTimes shown AEDT
      WEL vs NEW 16:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
      MEC vs PER 17:00AAMI
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      Round 20
      Fri, 27 FebTimes shown AEDT
      MEC vs ADE 19:30AAMI
      Sat, 28 FebTimes shown AEDT
      NEW vs CCM 17:00HUN
      WST vs SYD 19:30Pirtek Stadium
      PER vs BRI 21:45NIB
      Sun, 01 MarTimes shown AEDT
      VIC vs WEL 17:00AAMI
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      Round 21
      Fri, 06 MarTimes shown AEDT
      NEW vs SYD 19:30HUN
      Sat, 07 MarTimes shown AEDT
      WEL vs ADE 18:00Brendan Foot Kia Hutt Recreation Ground
      VIC vs PER 19:30AAMI
      Sun, 08 MarTimes shown AEDT
      CCM vs MEC 15:00Central Coast Stadium
      BRI vs WST 17:00SS
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      Round 22
      Thu, 12 MarTimes shown AEDT
      ADE vs CCM 19:30Coopers Stadium
      Fri, 13 MarTimes shown AEDT
      WST vs VIC 19:30Pirtek Stadium
      Sat, 14 MarTimes shown AEDT
      SYD vs BRI 19:30AS
      PER vs WEL 21:45NIB
      Sun, 15 MarTimes shown AEDT
      MEC vs NEW 17:00AAMI
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      Round 23
      Fri, 20 MarTimes shown AEDT
      SYD vs MEC 19:30AS
      Sat, 21 MarTimes shown AEDT
      WST vs NEW 17:00Pirtek Stadium
      ADE vs VIC 20:00Coopers Stadium
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      CCM vs PER 15:00Central Coast Stadium
      BRI vs WEL 17:00SS
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      Round 24
      Fri, 27 MarTimes shown AEDT
      VIC vs CCM 19:30AAMI
      Sat, 28 MarTimes shown AEDT
      MEC vs BRI 19:30AAMI
      PER vs WST 21:45NIB
      Sun, 29 MarTimes shown AEDT
      WEL vs SYD 15:00WS
      NEW vs ADE 17:00HUN
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      Round 25
      Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
      BRI vs CCM 21:00SS
      Fri, 03 AprTimes shown AEDT
      WST vs MEC 16:00Pirtek Stadium
      Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
      SYD vs ADE 19:30AS
      Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
      WEL vs VIC 16:00WS
      Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
      NEW vs PER 16:00HUN
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      Round 26
      Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
      VIC vs NEW 19:30AAMI
      PER vs SYD 21:45NIB
      Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
      ADE vs BRI 17:00Coopers Stadium
      CCM vs WST 19:30Central Coast Stadium
      Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
      MEC vs WEL 17:00AAMI
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      Round 27
      Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
      WEL vs CCM 17:30WS
      NEW vs SYD 19:45HUN
      Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
      WST vs ADE 17:00Pirtek Stadium
      BRI vs VIC 19:30SS
      Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
      PER vs MEC 17:00NIB
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      Hyundai A - 2014-15 - Ladder
      Overall standings
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