The Newcastle Jets will rue the “one that got away” after drawing 2-all with the Western Sydney Wanderers at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
The hosts led 2-0 in its round three A-League Men’s (ALM) clash but allowed the away side to grab two goals in the final half-hour to share the competition points.
Buoyed by strong support from their loyal fan base, the visitors enjoyed the early exchanges with a couple of opportunities narrowly missing the mark.
That, however, did not perturb Newcastle.
In fact, it seemed to flick the switch in the Jets camp.
Soon after, they went close to scoring, with the ball sailing across the goalmouth.
Then, in the 17th minute, a terrific pass from Trent Buhagiar found Apostolos Stamatelopoulos, who brilliantly headed into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead.
The Wanderers retaliated almost immediately but young defender Mark Natta was “jolly on the spot” to foil their plans.
At the 28-minute mark, Newcastle’s Clayton Taylor found himself in the clear, however goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas produced an excellent save.
The Jets didn’t have to wait long to extend their advantage.
In the 36th minute, following a fast break down the sideline, it was Buhagiar who unselfishly passed to Stamatelopoulos, in the middle, who bagged a first half double.
That enabled the hosts to venture into the sheds ahead 2-0.
Both outfits then traded attacking blows to kick off the second period.
But, it was Western Sydney, which struck in the 60th minute.
A sharp corner from Marcelo landed at the feet of Josh Brillante, who tapped the ball in for a 2-1 scoreline.
Newcastle supporters were left fuming when a couple of potential penalties, in the box, were denied by the match officials.
Despite those setbacks, the Jets stuck to their game plan and Stamatelopoulos caused more headaches for the opposition, with one of his shots clipping the posts.
However, their joy was short-lived.
In the 81st minute, Marcus Antonsson levelled the fixture at 2-all, via an Oscar Priestman through ball.
A late surge by Clayton Taylor at the death couldn’t separate the combatants.
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