Western Sydney Wanderers survived a frenetic spell of late pressure from Newcastle Jets to secure a hard-earned 2-1 victory at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night.
The Red & Black opened up a 2-0 lead thanks to Ziggy Gordon and Tate Russell goals on either side of half-time, but a Nigel Boogaard header reduced that lead to one, setting up an entertaining finish to the tense affair which ultimately ended in favour of the visitors.
Valentino Yuel was presented with the first opportunity of the game but the Newcastle striker couldn’t make it count; down the other end, however, Wanderers defender Gordon proved far more clinical when he leapt ahead of Yuel to head home the opener and silence an animated home crowd.
Carl Robinson’s side then put the ball in the back of the net for a second time thanks to a magnificent long-range Nicolai Müller stunner, but VAR intervened to rule Simon Cox offside in the build-up to the strike, wiping the German’s lethal attempt off the scoresheet.
What promised to be an exciting contest was living up to the hype early on and the Jets ensured they added to the drama; Yuel and Ramy Najjarine stood out as the star performers for the hosts as their electric energy produced a handful of chances for the hosts.
But Newcastle should have found themselves two goals behind at half-time. It seemed the Wanderers were certain to double their lead when Müller found Thomas Aquilina with a neat cross unmarked at the back post but the young full-back failed to make contact with the ball, ensuring their lead remained at just one goal at the break.
The second half began with the Red and Black on the front foot once more, and Aquilina’s fellow flying full-back Tate Russell had no such issues in front of goal when he ventured forward to hammer the visitors two goals to the good.
Russell’s thunderous strike and the ensuing pressure had the Jets scrambling to stay in the contest, but just when it seemed the Wanderers side would walk away with three points captain Nigel Boogaard ventured forward to head the Jets back into the contest.
A hefty spell of Newcastle pressure ensued as the hosts attempted to grind their way to a 2-2 draw but the Red and Black defence was not to be breached for a second time, as Robinson clinched his first win as Wanderers boss in Newcastle.