A red card cost Wellington Phoenix dearly as they fell to a 3-2 loss to Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night. After a red card with 19 minutes to play, the Jets quickly scored, sealing the win late on.
It was a tight start to the match, as neither side was able to really get away, before Newcastle took charge of the match. Despite that it was Wellington who opened the scoring thanks to a corner, which was floated perfectly for Hamish Watson, who had the time to control it well and slam it past Mark Birighitti.
The Jets responded quickly, managing a goal just four minutes later thanks to a Leonardo through-ball. That allowed Jesse Alivodic to run on to the ball, and he was challenged by Andrew Durante, who was only able to put it in to the back of his own net.
With the goal scoring floodgates well and truly opened the end-to-end affair continued and in the 37th minute Wellington restored their lead. A through-ball from Roly Bonevacia found Blake Powell, allowing him to find Watson, who easily sent it home, after Powell pulled out Birighitti.
There was one last chance from Newcastle in the half, as they went for the next opportunity, through Alivodic. He cut the ball back for Leonardo, allowing him to get a powerful shot away, which was well saved by Glen Moss.
It didn’t take very long in to the second half for the Jets to find an equalizer, coming in the 53rd minute. The goal came through Morten Nordstrand, getting his first goal for the club after Leonardo’s ball played him through, allowing him a perfect curling strike.
After the hour mark Wellington had another chance to retake their lead with Watson the target yet again. Watson was able to get a shot away, with Birighitti not able to get to it, only for the Jets to clear the ball off the line.
But from there, with the crowd behind them, the Jets looked to firmly take charge of the match, and looked the more likely side to break the deadlock. New boy Nordstrand was the main man for Newcastle, both at the end of chances and setting them up.
In the 71st minute Watson turned from Wellington’s double goal scoring hero to their villain as he got sent off in one of the most pointless ways possible. Already on a yellow card, Watson made the ludicrous decision to kick the ball away, costing his side a man at a crucial point in the match.
Just two minutes later the Jets stole the points, taking advantage of the extra man, Nordstrand grabbed the goal, after creating the opportunity. He cut inside a scrambling Wellington defence and then squared for Alivodic, who returned the favour allowin Nordstrand to slam it home and seal the 3-2 win.