Newcastle Jets ran out comfortable 2-0 winners against Western Sydney Wanderers, as the home side failed to find the back of the net, with the game being played on an abysmal debris covered surface.
All the talk in the pre-game was about the disgraceful playing surface offered by the stadium. After a music concert a week ago, it became clear the ground had failed to clean up the facility before the Wanderers game. An inspection of the pitch found shards of broken plastic cups, and Newcastle coach Ernie Merrick had added to his collection of plastic with a metal screw he'd recovered from the pitch. Despite the clear potential for player safety to be impacted, the FFA Match Commissioner decided to play the match as scheduled.
10 minutes in the Wanderers should have taken the lead. Josh Risdon burst down the right flank, and with some fancy footwork launched a cross to the far post. Abraham Majok was practically standing on the goal-line, and somehow managed to get his body position all wrong, and turned what should have been a simple header, into a weak nod that Glen Moss cleared off the line.
Instead it was Newcastle who opened the scoring. Nikolai Topor-Stanley broke from a misplaced free kick, and tucked the ball inside, Jason Hoffman made a smart run, and his touch took the ball past Vedran Janjetovic, perhaps with the assistance of Tarek Elrich for what might be claimed an own goal.
With 5 minutes left in the half, Newcastle relaxed in defence, and allowed Llorente time to fire a cross to the back post. Oriol Riera had peeled away from his marker, and with Moss completely misjudging the flight in the gale force winds, Riera had an open goal, only to smash the header the wrong side of the post. It was a golden chance, a sitter, and a marquee player shouldn't be missing from point blank range.
The second half was a litany of Wanderers efforts where decent build up was ruined in the penalty area, as cross were hit into the stands, passes went to the sideline or a Newcastle player, and first touches were so poor that they ruined the chance. Majok had one such heavy touch around the Jets keeper, and he couldn't complete from the tight angle.
Newcastle threatened a second on the counter for the last quarter of the game, and they finally converted one of their breaks in the 93rd minute, bombing forward in a blistering attack lead by Petratos that Vargas emphatically finished to win the game 2-0. It was another typical Wanderers loss, looking okay in the middle of the pitch but poor at either end.
The Wanderers play Melbourne Victory in Melbourne next week.