Carl Robinson returned to Newcastle and his team's hard graft was rewarded with a tight 2-1 victory.
A fixture with numerous subplots leading into the fixture that involved Robinson's exit from the Jets, future Wanderer Steven Ugarkovic agreeing to join the Wanderers next season and WSW's owner Paul Lederer taking part-ownership of Newcastle after the Jets A-league licensed was revoked. The on-field action saw the Jets & Wanderers both fail to win their opening games saw the two teams holding onto the 10th & 11th positions on the A-League ladder. Robinson handed out a starting debut to fullback Thomas Aquilina with Nicolai Muller being favoured over Bernie Ibini.
The Wanderers opened the scoring early through Ziggy Gordon. Tate Russell won a corner, James Troisi delivered a beautiful in-swinging ball on his left boot and Gordon attacked the near post before flashing a classic sliced header down and past the defender.
Muller scored what should have be the goal of the round in the 25th minute. Muller picked up the ball from a way out and smashed the ball like a rocket, beat Jack Duncan all ends up. 10 seconds later the VAR had put it's offside line in the wrong spot for Simon Cox's touch in the lead up and immediately ruled it out.
The Newcastle fans (including Andy Harper & Brenton Speed) thought the Jets should have had an penalty on the half-hour, only for the VAR to correctly show it wasn't a foul and it was outside the penalty area in the first place. Aquilina should have marked his starting debut with a goal to make the match 2-0 on the brink of half-time, Muller with more great work to put the ball on a silver platter for the youngest but the fullback's footing failed him at the moment of contact when all he had to do was a simple tap-in at the far post.
Tate Russell stepped up and gave the Wanderers their deserved 2-0 lead in the 58th minute. The Newcastle defence lost it's shape and a clearance mix-up allowed Troisi into the backfield with the ball, he fed the ball to Cox in the middle and the striker found the youngster steaming forward as he leathered a right foot thunderbolt past Duncan who had no chance.
Newcastle pulled a goal back in the 70th minute, off a Dorrans foul out wide the Nigel Boogard the Newcastle Captain went forward and got a lucky flick off the top of his head that sliced to the far post and into the side netting to make it 2-1. Angus Thurgate followed up with a right footed shot that flew over the crossbar with a poor Bernie Ibini clearance at a corner.
Villain of the day Bernie Ibini was put through clean on goal and with no-one but the keeper to beat he fluffed his lines by scooping the ball well over the goal for a Newcastle goal kick. The poor finish let the Jets back into the game and they dominated proceedings heading into stoppage time. Remy Najjarine ran the attack for Newcastle, turning the Wanderers defence inside out but his team had trouble finishing the job. The home team threw the kitchen sink as they chased a late equaliser but ultimately a stoic defensive rearguard gave Carl Robinson's side their first points of the season and propelled them back into the top half of the A-League. Thomas Aquilina and Tate Russell were the standout performances for the Wanderers on both sides of the ball, and goalscorer Ziggy Gordon showed the kind of heart & leadership that had been sorely missing from the middle of the park last season.
The Wanderers next game is against Sydney FC at the Homebush Olympic Stadium on Saturday January 16th with kick-off at 5:05PM.