The Western Sydney Wanderers produced a typical Western Sydney Wanderers display tonight against the Newcastle Jets, a good first half hour including a Mitch Duke penalty was followed by a dire remainder of the game that let the Jets pickup a point when Matt Millar equalised in the 75th minute.
The match was delayed when a gigantic rain & thunder storm flew over Sydney prior to kick-off, and once the lightning cleared away the match began under heavy rain. Jean-Paul de Marigny took charge of his first home game as Wanderers interim manager, 5 minutes in and his side had the lead. Bobby Burns was beaten all ends up by Bruce Kamau, the right wing-back blazing into the penalty area and being cut down from behind to give Mitch Duke a chance from the penalty spot.
The Wanderers captain made no mistake, blasting his penalty straight down the middle as the Newcastle keeper dived away from the ball. Burns was lucky to avoid getting sent off shortly after, as the referee inexplicably decided to not show him a first yellow card after the penalty, and he was beaten again by Kamau shortly after to pick up what should have been his 2nd yellow card. Instead he remained on the pitch to help the Jets get back into the game.
The Wanderers wasted a score of chances following the goal, Simon Cox should have been able to round the keeper following a defensive mistake from the Jets, but his touch was exceptionally heavy and gave Lewis Italiano just enough time to rescue the situation. Cox also made a poor decision with his run as Daniel Georgievski fired a ball across the face of goal. When a far post run would have given him a tap-in from a few yards out, he ran near post and let the defender get involved to shut down the attack. It was the last major chance for the Wanderers in the game.
Newcastle built into the game before half-time, finding a number of open spaces on the flanks, the front line attack being unlucky that several crosses were hit coming back towards half-way and left the strikers having to leap backwards, generating no power on their headers.
The 2nd half was abysmal for the Wanderers. Lopar saved a fierce strike from Dimi Petratos that went straight at him, Steven Ugarkovic followed up a minute later with a long range looping volley that Lopar turned onto the bar and out for a corner. 15 minutes before full-time the Jets got their reward. After mucking about with the ball in the back line, Patrick Ziegler passed it straight to a Jets player and they attacked, Matt Millar worked a 1-2 and he found a shooting opportunity. Lopar was wrong-footed as if he expected a cutback along the 6 yard box, but instead Millar shot at the near post and took advantage of the keeper being out of position.
Newcastle pressed forward to find a late winner, while the Wanderers fell further back to defend and were lucky to get away with the 1-1 full time scoreline. It was yet another poor result, a failure of intensity and application, one that should never have occurred for a side coming off a 2 week break due to the postponement of the Sydney Derby, against the team in second last place.
The Wanderers face Adelaide United at Parramatta on Friday February 21st, kick-off at 7:30PM. The Sydney Derby has been rescheduled for Friday February 28th.