The Wellington Phoenix have fallen 2-1 to the visiting Jets tonight, giving Newcastle their first victory of the season while denying the Nix their maiden win.
We had a lot of the ball and a lot of opportunities to win this game, we know we need to get better with our transition and putting the ball in the back of the net. - Ufuk Talay
With Alex Rufer and Reno Piscopo out – the former serving a one match suspension and the latter yet to play this season due to injury – Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay elected to start Matt Ridenton for the first time this season; Jaushua Sotirio also starting in place of Clayton Lewis.
The first five minutes of the match saw Tomer Hemed squarely on the attack, including being denied a penalty upon VAR review after falling to the ground inside the box. But it would be Valentino Yuel who would strike first at the eight minute mark, taking a pass from Roy O’Donovan to put the Jets up 1-0 early; his third goal in his last three matches.
Luke DeVere would nearly equalise a few minutes later with a strong headed attempt on goal, barely saved by Newcastle’s goalkeeper Jack Duncan. Ulises Davila’s effort from outside the box on 13 minutes would be even closer, clipping the goalpost to deny him a spectacular goal.
A shot from Cameron Devlin on 28 minutes would be caught squarely by Duncan, and a follow-up attempt from Sotirio well outside the box was off the mark. James McGarry would also find his attempt caught by Duncan, the Jets goalkeeper impressing in the first half with several difficult saves.
Newcastle would go into the break leading 1-0, despite the Phoenix dominating the majority of play – taking 10 shots compared to the Jets five and with 263 passes to Newcastle’s 157.
The second half again saw an aggressive Phoenix pushing for the equaliser, with a solid headed attempt on goal by David Ball being denied by the woodwork. Roy O’Donovan would strike shortly after to put Newcastle up 2-0, scoring the 50th goal of his career.
Wellington would fight back; Ball delivering a beautiful pass to Tim Payne whose attempt was just off target, an attempt by Dávila also off the mark and a strike outside the box by Hemed being caught by Duncan; the Phoenix putting strong pressure on the Jets defence.
Marinovic would make a spectacular save just before the 80 minute mark, parrying a bicycle kick attempt from Nigel Boogaard.
Wellington would get themselves on the scoreboard at the 85 minute mark, after Devlin was taken down inside the box by the Jet’s Blake Archbold – Dávila slotting home the penalty for his first goal of the season.
Ben Waine would come close to an equaliser just before full-time with a header that sailed just wide, and Wellington would pile on the attacking pressure but to no avail – Newcastle picking up their first win of the season in five matches with a 2-1 away victory.
After the match, Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay says he was disappointed with the result but sees where the squad can improve for next match.
“It was a frustrating night, we started off positive and had some good chances but weren’t clinical enough in the box - and if you don’t score goals you don’t win games.
“We had a lot of the ball and a lot of opportunities to win this game, we know we need to get better with our transition and putting the ball in the back of the net.
“We believe in our process and our principles, in the way that we play and what we need to do to win – football is about confidence and we’ll continue the work that we’re doing and try and make it better.”
The Phoenix will head to Central Coast Stadium next, taking on the Mariners on 31 January.
Wellington Phoenix Starting XI
1.Stefan MARINOVIC (gk), 3.Luke DEVERE, 5.James MCGARRY, 6.Tim PAYNE, 8.Cameron DEVLIN, 9.David BALL, 10.Ulises DAVILA(c), 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO, 12.Matt RIDENTON, 17.Tomer HEMED, 21.Joshua LAWS
Newcastle Jets Starting XI
23.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 2. Johnny KOURTROUMBIS, 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD (c), 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 11.Ramy NAJJARINE, 17.Valentino YUEL, 24.Connor O’TOOLE, 32.Angus THURGATE, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY
Wellington Phoenix Substitutes
52’ ON 23.Clayton LEWIS OFF 12.Matthew RIDENTON
70’ ON 15.Mirza MURATOVIC OFF 11.Jaushua SOTIRIO
70’ ON 18.Ben WAINE OFF 17.Tomer HEMED
83’ ON 16.Louis FENTON OFF 6.Tim PAYNE
Newcastle Jets Substitutions
59’ ON 19.Kosta PETRATOS OFF 11.Ramy NAJJARINE
72’ ON 28.Blake ARCHBOLD OFF 9.Roy O’DONOVAN
90+4’ ON 15.Tete YENGI OFF 17.Valentino YUEL
8’ Valentino YUEL (Newcastle Jets)
51’ Roy O’DONOVAN (Newcastle Jets)
85’ Ulises DAVILA (Wellington Phoenix)
Next Match details
Wellington Phoenix versus Central Coast Mariners, Central Coast Stadium
31 Jan 2021, kick-off at 4.05pm AEDT | 6.05pm NZ time