Sydney FC has signalled it is still a definite contender for this season’s Hyundai A-League title after all-but ending the Newcastle Jets chances of defending their Championship in an enthralling encounter at Energy Australia Stadium.
Sydney FC has signalled it is still a definite contender for this season-s Hyundai A-League title after all-but ending the Newcastle Jets chances of defending their Championship in an enthralling encounter at Energy Australia Stadium.
John Kosmina-s men went down a goal early but showed plenty of character to equalise in the first half through a flying Iain Fyfe, before substitute, Brendan Gan sealed an impressive win with a composed strike late in the second half of the match.
“Always happy with three points,” said the Sydney coach. “We were a bit sluggish I think in the first half but the second half we came really good.”
The tension was clear in both teams in the opening minutes but Sydney looked the more dangerous side and quickly set up camp in the opposition half.
Despite their early dominance, the Sky Blues couldn-t create any clear opportunities though and it was the Jets that took an early lead when Jobe Wheelhouse was left open on the edge of the visitor-s box just after the ten-minute mark.
His powerful strike into the lower right corner of Clint Bolton-s goal clearly stung Sydney and a free-kick four minutes later provided Kosmina-s men with a chance to claim an equaliser that they weren-t about to waste.
Shannon Cole launched a testing lob into the heart of Newcastle18-yard area and two touches, first from Beau Busch, then John Aloisi put Iain Fyfe on target and he was never going to miss with his close-range header.
The equaliser simply served to add more sting to the contest and while both sides had opportunities, it was the hosts that came closest to extending the scoreline, enjoying a string of good chances, most notably to Benjamin Kantarovski after 18 minutes.
Bolton-s positioning in his return match kept the Jets at bay, however, and he continued to be kept busy as Newcastle launched more raids down Sydney-s left, with James Holland pushing a powerful volley just over the bar in the lead up to the break.
All-even at half time, but Sydney came out the more purposeful side following the restart and, having received a hostile reception from the opening whistle, Mark Bridge showed his team-s intentions when he ghosted into the box inside the first minute.
His floating header could only find Ante Covic, but moments later Aloisi almost caught the Jets- keeper napping with a first time touch that nearly lobbed into Newcastle-s net.
Sydney and Newcastle then settled into the grind before the home side seemed to sense signs of tiring in the Sky Blues- and lifted a gear in attack.
If they thought Sydney was spent they were mistaken, however, and Steve Corica should have put his side in-front in the 62nd minute but was denied by the flailing legs of Covic from point-blank range.
Just thirty-seconds later it was the Jets who saw a golden opportunity go begging when an open Jesper Hakansson failed to get a foot on a dangerous ball across the box, in a similar position to the Sydney captain-s effort at the other end of the field.
In the 73rd minute John Kosmina went to his bench, giving Brendan Gan his second start in the Hyundai A-League in the place of Bobby Petta, and five-minutes later the young replacement repaid the faith with a calm piece of finishing that belied his tender age.
Some brilliant interplay among the Sydney midfield created the chance for the 20-year-old, with the captain finally providing Gan with the guilt-edged chance which he slotted home to give his side what would be a match winning lead.
Newcastle continued to threaten in the closing stages but the Sky Blues seemed determined not to let this match slip through their grasp and took a well deserved and moral boosting 2-1 win on the road.
“Results haven-t been going our way, we were sixth spot and now we-ve jumped to third so it-s a show of good character by the boys to come back,” said Steve Corica after the game. “We went a goal down, got back into it, played a lot better I think in the second half and we got the win up so definitely the boys are a lot more confident.”
Sydney will carry that confidence into its next match where it will look to continue its climb back up the ladder in another fierce local derby, away against the Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night.
Sydney FC 2 (Iain FYFE 15-, Brendan GAN 78-)
Newcastle Jets 1 (Jobe WHEELHOUSE 11-)
Newcastle Jets: 1. Ante COVIC (gk), 2. Adam GRIFFITHS, 3. Jade NORTH (c), 5. James HOLLAND, 8. Matt THOMPSON, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE (17. Antun KOVACIC 84-), 13. Adam D-APUZZO (14. Shaun ONTONG 73-), 16.Benjamin KANTAROVSKI, 19. Jason NAIDOVSKI (6. Jesper HAKANSSON 54-), 24. Marko JESIC.
Substitute not used: 30. Justin PASFIELD (gk).
Yellow Cards: nil.
Red Cards: nil.
Goals: Jobe WHEELHOUSE 11-.
Sydney FC: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Iain FYFE, 7. Rob MIDDLEBY, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 10. Steve CORICA (c), 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE (31. Antony GOLEC 90-+2), 19. Mark BRIDGE (16. Christopher PAYNE 88-), 23. John ALOISI, 29. Beau BUSCH, 28. Bobby PETTA (32. Brendan GAN 73-).
Substitute not used: 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk).
Yellow Cards: Rob MIDDLEBY 13-.
Red Cards: nil.
Goals: Iain FYFE 15-, Brendan GAN 78-.
Referee: Strebre Delovski.