Jets edge past Wanderers


The Newcastle Jets have edged past the Western Sydney Wanderers 3-2 in an entertaining clash in the Hunter on Saturday.

Goals Roy O’Donovan and Dimitri Petratos, in between goals from Rashid Mahazi and Keanu Baccus for the visitors, had things all locked up heading into the last 10 minutes.

And that’s when Thurgate popped up with the crucial goal that has kept the Jets’ faint finals hopes alive.

Thurgate, who has the nickname the Port Macquarie Pele, swooped on a loose ball just inside the Wanderers box and calmly slotted it into the corner of the net.

The win has seen the Jets extend their unbeaten run against the Wanderers to six games, while they have moved to within five points of sixth-placed Adelaide United.

The Jets came into this one having not conceded a first-half goal in any of their last six home games but were on the back foot from the start.

Oriol Riera and Brendan Hamill both had excellent opportunities but it was Roy O’Donovan who should have opened the scoring on the half-hour mark.

Joey Champness played a teasing cross to the far post which found the Irishman unmarked but he failed to connect with his volley as the ball glanced wide with the goal gaping.

It proved pivotal as the Wanderers took the lead two minutes from the break, from a very unlikely source.

Mahazi hadn’t scored in any of his previous 86 Hyundai A-League games but broke his duck with a towering header from Alex Baumjohann’s free-kick.

O’Donovan made up for his earlier miss 18 minutes after the break when he rifled in a shot from the top of the box, before Petratos put the Jets in front soon after in bizarre circumstances.

The attacker curled in a corner from the left, with Wanderers keeper Vedran Janjetovic only succeeding in punching the ball into the net off the post.

But the Wanderers weren’t behind for long as Baccus replied with a howitzer 16 minutes from the end, his long-distance effort flying in off the underside of the crossbar.

There would be one final twist in this epic contest as Thurgate capitalised on a mix-up at the back from Hamill and Tarek Elrich to slot into the bottom corner and send the home fans into raptures.