ALM Match Report: Western United 0-1 Newcastle Jets

Daniel Penha Western United

Despite a largely dominant performance, Western United fell to a 1-0 Isuzu UTE A-League Men defeat against Newcastle Jets at Mars Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Ballarat crowd twice thought they had something to cheer about with Daniel Penha and Nikita Rukavytsya both having goals ruled out, but it was Apostolos Stamatelopoulos’ finish just before half-time that decided the game.

The Green and Black did almost everything but score, ensuring there are plenty of positives to take into the international break and the next match against Adelaide United.

Team News

John Aloisi brought an unchanged squad into matchday with just one alteration to the starting XI as Penha came back in for Michael Ruhs.

Kane Vidmar continued at centre-back and Rukavytsya was on the bench for the second straight week. Ben Garuccio started on the left of the defence, making his 50th Isuzu UTE A-League appearance for the Club.

First Half

All of the early play was in Western United’s attacking third as the home side looked to bring the pressure on Newcastle from the outset.

Penha was in the mood against his former side and rattled the crossbar in the 10th minute, cutting in from the right-hand side and slamming his left-footed drive into the woodwork.

The Brazilian was behind another positive Western United attack when he worked the ball from right to left, finding Garuccio out wide before getting it back from the cross and firing just wide.

United continued to dictate much of the play and Josh Risdon fired narrowly wide of the goal after Angus Thurgate picked him out brilliantly with a lofted ball.

Penha then thought he had given United the lead with his first goal back in Australian football, smashing a strike off the post and into the net. Replays showed that the ball had gone out of play in the build-up, though, and the goal was ruled out.

Just minutes after that disappointment, Newcastle went up the other end and poured salt into United’s wounds with the opening goal against the run of play.

Breaking from back to front, Apostolos Stamatelopoulos fired home from close range after Trent Buhagiar’s initial header had rebounded off the crossbar.

That sucker punch right before the break deflated United, leaving the home side with work to do in the second half to chase a result.

Second Half

Aloisi’s men came out of half-time intent on continuing their dominance and making it count on the scoreboard in the second half, looking to get on the front foot after the interval.

Content with their one-goal lead, Newcastle set about managing the remainder of the game and sat deep in their defensive structure, limiting the space for Western United to exploit going forward.

That made for a frustrating second half for the Green and Black with very little in the way of clear cut chances as Newcastle became increasingly difficult to break down.

Rukavytsya injected some energy off the bench and provided a piece of quality with a brilliant looping header into the back of the net in the 86th minute, but he was denied a maiden Western United goal by the offside flag.

Newcastle got their game management to work effectively in the dying minutes, keeping the ball in the corner and taking time off the clock as United couldn’t find the goal, falling to defeat.