Newcastle Stadium resembled an emergency ward for the Wanderers as injuries & heat saw them fade once again in the second half with Dimitri Petratos cancelling out a first half goal from Mark Bridge to see both sides take a point this evening.
With Newcastle Jets losing their marquee midfielder Ronald Vargas to a horror injury, the Wanderers were deserved favourites coming into the game, and the early play bore this out. Having taking full control of the game, the Wanderers eventually broke through for the opening goal. Nikolai Topor-Stanley's error deep in his own half saw him give up a corner and from the set piece his former team pounced. Jumpei Kusukami turned on the ball & shot at goal, the ball bounced off the back of a Jets defender and fell into the path of Mark Bridge who fired in a right footed first time strike that curled into the back of the net.
Over the course of the game the Wanderers were battered & bruised by the strong Newcastle defenders. Kearyn Baccus left the field with a stomach bug, perhaps exacerbated by the heat, Raul Llorente took a heavy knock from Nigel Boogaard that saw him practically incapable of running, Chris Herd left with a potential concussion after meeting Topor-Stanley's shoulder, and the end results was that Hayden Foxe was forced into playing Jonathan Aspro out of position as a holding defensive midfielder.
Newcastle grew into the contest after their opponents failed to make any major clear cut chances in the second half, and Dimitri Petratos pulled the game level in the 68th minute. Newcastle bombed the ball long, with Roy O'Donovan meeting a cutback with a fierce strike on goal that was aimed straight at the keeper. Janjetovic spilled the ball back toward the penalty spot, Cornthwaite decided to run back to goal & Aspro couldn't beat Petratos to the loose ball and he hammered it under the keeper with his left foot.
From there it looked like there was only going to be one winner, with Newcastle having the wind in their sails while the Wanderers were out of position & out of ideas. Roly Bonevacia had a dismal game off the bench, the service to Oriol Riera was like Cityrail on a public holiday with random trackwork added to the mix, Jumpei provided an assist but otherwise his & Cejudo's flicks & tricks did little to promote the attack into dangerous positions and once again the fitness of the team was lacking as they fell apart around the hour mark.
The new manager cannot come soon enough, and whoever does take over could quite easily decide to make a clean sweep of the Wanderers current coaching staff, as those who didn't follow Popovic to Turkey appear to have turned a potential top 2 side into a mid-table one through poor preparation both tactically & physically.