Men’s Match Review: Wellington Phoenix vs. Newcastle Jets

The Newcastle Jets have taken advantage of an understrength Wellington Phoenix in their Isuzu UTE A-League match in Newcastle.

The Jets have run away with a 4-0 win over the Phoenix at McDonald Jones Stadium, after a scoreless first-half.

Despite being without eight regulars, the Nix deserved to be level at halftime and had a great chance to take the lead early in the second-half.

But Newcastle finished the stronger of the two sides, scoring three goals in 17 minutes to kill off the game and move up to eighth on the table.

The result leaves the Phoenix seventh on the ladder, level on points with sixth-placed Sydney FC.

Phoenix head coach Ufuk Talay was disappointed with how the match slipped away from his side.

“I thought we started off the game well, first half was quite good to be honest,” Talay told media post-game.

“Second-half started I think we had a good opportunity with Sutts (Sam Sutton) to maybe take the lead and then we conceded a goal.

“Then we showed how naïve we are when it was 1-nil, when we were still in the game, we gave the ball away and conceded the second goal from that.

“After that I think we began to run out of legs a little bit.”

Talay was forced to make five changes to his starting XI, with captain Alex Rufer out with a season-ending knee injury, David Ball suspended and Oli Sail, Ben Waine and Clayton Lewis in Qatar with the All Whites.

Alex Paulsen started in goal in Sail’s absence, with fullbacks James McGarry and Louis Fenton coming into a new-look back four. Tim Payne shifted into centre back and Josh Laws and Sam Sutton pushed into midfield, alongside Nicholas Pennington. Veteran striker Gary Hooper was handed his first start in eight weeks.

There were few clear-cut opportunities for either side in the first 45 minutes, with the execution in the final third letting both teams down.

The Phoenix came closest to opening the scoring in the 15th minute when a powerful shot from Fenton deflected goalward off Newcastle captain Matt Jurman, but fortunately for the Jets it went straight at their ‘keeper Michael Weier.

The Jets only managed one shot on target before halftime, with Angus Thurgate almost squeezing a volley between Paulsen’s legs on the half hour mark.

The Nix made a bright start to the second-half, with Sam Sutton in the thick of the action.

McGarry found Sutton in space inside the Newcastle box in the 46th minute, but he scuffed his first-time shot and wasn’t able to test Weier.

Moments later Sutton managed to find the target but his shot was straight at the Jets’ goalkeeper after a tidy one-two with Hooper.

Unfortunately the Phoenix soon found themselves a goal down, with Olivier Boumal tapping home from eight yards out after Paulsen parried Daniel Penha’s shot from the edge of the area.

The Cameroonian had his second 12 minutes later, picking out the bottom left corner of Paulsen’s goal from distance.

Georgian Beka Mikeltadze scored Newcastle’s third midway through the second-half when he cut back on to his left foot and curled a shot inside the right hand post.

Gael Sandoval forced Weier to make a couple of saves after the Phoenix went 3-nil down and it was the closest Wellington would come to pulling a goal back.

Ufuk Talay handed A-League debuts to academy graduates George Ott and Jackson Manuel in the final 20 minutes as the Nix continued to fight, but unfortunately seven minutes from fulltime Jets substitute Eli Babalj completed the scoring with a thunderous header from close-range.

The Wellington Phoenix will welcome back Oli Sail, Clayton Lewis, Ben Old, Ben Waine and David Ball for next weekend’s match against Perth Glory at Leichhardt Oval in Sydney, but they will be without Payne, who is joining the All Whites in Qatar.

Jaushua Sotirio may also be in doubt to face Perth after he injured his hamstring in the second-half of Friday night’s match. He will be assessed over the coming days.

Wellington Phoenix:
40. Alex PAULSEN (gk), 4. Scott WOOTTON, 5. James MCGARRY (32. George OTT 68th), 6. Tim PAYNE (c) (33. Finn SURMAN 79th), 7. Gael SANDOVAL, 11. Jaushua SOTIRIO (17. Callan ELLIOT 57th), 13. Nicholas PENNINGTON (34. Jackson MANUEL 79th), 16. Louis FENTON, 19. Sam SUTTON, 21. Josh LAWS, 88. Gary HOOPER
Unused substitutes: 30. Henry GRAY (gk), 3. Matthew BOZINOVSKI, 31. Kurtis MOGG,

Newcastle Jets: 20. Michael WEIER (gk), 3. Jason HOFFMAN, 4. Jordan ELSEY, 6. Matthew JURMAN (c), 9. Beka MIKELTADZE (23. Eli BABALJ 79th), 10. Olivier BOUMAL (17. Valentino YUEL 70th), 11. Daniel PENHA, 14. Mohamed AL-TAAY (13. Brandon WILSON 62nd), 15. Dylan MURNANE, 21. Savvas SIATRAVANIS (27. Lucas MAURAGIS 79th), 32. Angus THURGATE
Unused substitutes: 1. Jack DUNCAN (gk),16. Kostandinos GROZOS, 19. Taylor REGAN

10. Olivier BOUMAL (Newcastle Jets) – 51st
10. Olivier BOUMAL (Newcastle Jets) – 64th
9. Beka MIKELTADZE (Newcastle Jets) – 67th
23. Eli BABALJ (Newcastle Jets) – 83rd

21. Josh LAWS (Wellington Phoenix) – yellow – 3rd
14. Mohamed AL-TAAY (Newcastle Jets) – yellow – 35th
17. Callan ELLIOT (Wellington Phoenix) – yellow – 73rd
9. Beka MIKELTADZE (Newcastle Jets) – yellow – 79th