Wanderers survive Jets scare to edge five-goal thriller

Newcastle Jets’ A-League Men finals hopes have been dealt a mortal blow in a dramatic 3-2 loss to Western Sydney Wanderers.

Wanderers initially looked comfortable after early strikes from Steven Ugarkovic, Jake Rodwell, and Ramy Najjarine put them 3-0 up on Wednesday night but they were forced to fend off a desperate Jet fightback.

Their season on the line at CommBank Stadium, Jason Hoffman netted in the 67th minute to make it 3-1, before Samuel Silvera reduced the deficit further in the 76th.

But heartbreakingly for the Novocastrians, that was where it ended.

Rather than closing the gap on the top six, the Jets’ lead over Wanderers has now evaporated and they sit level in ninth and 10th on the table on 25 points – seven adrift of sixth-placed Macarthur FC with four games to play.

The Jets face rivals Central Coast on Saturday while the Wanderers can derail another finals push when they travel to New Zealand to take on Wellington Phoenix.  

Flicking on James Troisi’s volleyed effort in the sixth minute, Ugarkovic got proceedings off strongly for his side.

Feasting on woeful Jets defending, Rodwell headed home at the near post from a Troisi corner to make it two in the 18th before Najjarine dinked a delightful effort over Jack Duncan in the 21st for the third Wanderers goal.

But let off the hook by two disallowed Rodwell goals, the Jets showed spirit in the second half and dragged a goal back when Hoffman’s pressure induced an error from keeper Daniel Margush in the 67th that allowed him to tap home.

Tension ratcheted up even further nine minutes later when Silvera, introduced as a second-half substitute, latched onto a Hoffman cross to volley home and make it 3-2.

Yet despite their best efforts, the Jets eventually fell to a defeat that all but dooms their finals hopes