Tony Popovic‘s Western Sydney Wanderers celebrated Christmas with a comprehensive 2-0 victory over Scott Miller‘s Newcastle Jets in front of a crowd of over 10,000 at Parramatta Stadium in Parramatta, Western Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
Early on in the first half, Western Sydney were hoping to start the first half on a strong note as Santa Claus prepared to deliver the goods around the world. In the first two minutes, Newcastle delivered a trio of set pieces to put the hosts on the defensive. Following a ball possession battle, Italian Federico Piovaccari pressed the issue in the sixth minute. Nicholas Cowburn was cautioned in the ninth minute for Newcastle.
A possible own goal opportunity for the Wanderers came in the 10th minute but it ended up being a corner for the home team. In the 14th minute, Mitch Nichols missed the top right corner. Ryan Kitto was denied by Andrew Redmayne in the 15th minute of play on a 1-v-1. At 16 minutes, Piovaccari again missed, his attempt being a shocker over the bar. David Carney won a corner in the 19th minute but Nigel Boogaard sailed it over the bar.
As the crowd chanted “Who Do We Sing For?”, both teams were still pushing for the breakthrough, the Wanderers consolidating possession and balls into area. Carney was lurking again at the half-hour mark but ran out of space. Scott Jamieson fancied a look in the 32nd minute but to no avail. Newcastle goalkeeper Mark Birighetti made a timely stop on Piovaccari in the 33rd minute.
Wanderers trigger man Mark Bridge also had too much lift in the 38th minute of play. His counterpart on the Jets, Milos Trifunovic, was foiled by defender Scott Neville in the 43rd minute of play as Newcastle continued to ask the question. The ensuing corner in the 44th minute was expertly cleared. In the first minute of first half injury time, Alberto Aguilar, the most unlikeliest of scorers, found the near post on a set piece from Scott Jamieson, Birighetti conceding the howler to make it 1-0 Wanderers at the break.
Early on in the second half, Nichols eluded Lachie Jackson but the attempt missed wide right in the 47th minute. Piovaccari won a corner seconds later after a howler from Birighetti but that was cleared as the Wanderers queued up on the Jets netminder. Nikolai Topor-Stanley was booked in the 56th minute of play for a foul on Carney.
As for the Jets, they continued to pay the price for their poor finishing form, the match now picking up tempo. Mateo Poljak had a horrible miss in the 58th minute of play that missed the mark. Trifunovic missed the mark at the hour mark with a speculative attempt. Bridge missed wide right in the 61st minute. Daniel Mullen denied Romeo Castelen one minute later.
Dario Vidosic came in at the 64th minute as Trifunovic was booked for dissent. Bridge made it 2-0 Wanderers at 70 minutes after a failed save by Birighetti and the initial attempt from Topor-Stanley.
At this point, the Wanderers elected to put the cue in the rack. Braedyn Crowley came into the match at the 71st minute for Kitto. Jamieson was the next to be booked, in the 76th minute. Wanderers goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne was forced to make a stop after being quiet in goal for 77 minutes. Castelen missed wide left in the 79th minute. Golgol Mebrahtu came in for Bridge in the 81st minute as the home support all did the Poznan.
Carney finally was booked in the 84th minute, meaning that he would be suspended for the next match against Melbourne Victory due to yellow card accumulation. Vidosic also was cautioned in the 87th minute. Brendon Santalab came in for Castelen in the 88th minute of play.
Western Sydney Wanderers Player Ratings
Andrew Redmayne 6, Nikolai Topor-Stanley 7.5, Scott Neville 6, Alberto Aguilar 7, Scott Jamieson 6.5, Mitch Nichols 6, Romeo Castelen 5, Mark Bridge 8, Jacob Pepper 5, Dimas 6, Federico Piovaccari 5, Dario Vidosic 4.5, Brendon Santalab NR, Golgol Mebrahtu NR
Newcastle Jets Player Ratings
Mark Birighetti 3, Nigel Boogard 3, Nick Corburn 2.5, Daniel Mullen 4, Cameron Watson 3, Ryan Kitto 4, Ben Kantarovski 4, David Carney 4.5, Enver Alividic 5, Mateo Poljak 4, Milos Trifunovic 4.5, Lachlan jackson 3, Braedyn Crowley NR