Wanderers, Newcastle draw in A-League Men

Western Sydney coach Carl Robinson had to thank two defensive blunders from his old side Newcastle as the Wanderers laboured to a 2-2 draw in the A-League Men competition.

A penalty from striker Beka Mikeltadze gave the Jets the lead following an abject opening half an hour from the Wanderers.

Bernie Ibini cut the deficit at Commbank Stadium with teammate Tomer Hemed putting the home side ahead after half-time.

Newcastle’s Olivier Boumal levelled shortly after but both teams were unable to seal a winner.

The Wanderers could count themselves lucky to snatch a point given how passive they were in the opening stages.

It was a different story for Arthur Papas’ men who started brightly, pressed well and looked to threaten on the flanks through Boumal and Valentino Yuel.

It was from there that the Jets got their first goal as Boumal cut into the Wanderers’ box and was met by a clumsy Rhys Williams challenge in the 19th minute.

Referee Ben Abraham pointed to the spot and Mikeltadze made no mistake as he finished to Tomas Mejias’ right for his first goal in Newcastle colours.

The Georgian’s ability to lead the line was commendable with the Wanderers lucky not to have conceded two further goals.

Robinson barked instructions from the sideline and the Wanderers seemed to find their groove just as Ibini drew them level.

Matt Jurman took a poor touch on a whipped cross and Ibini was on hand at the edge of the penalty to box power the finish past Jack Duncan in the 42nd minute.

Despite their sluggish start, the Wanderers found themselves level and were able to go ahead three minutes after half-time.

Another clumsy touch from the Jets at the back was picked off by Hemed and the Israeli international made no mistake to power past Duncan.

The pressure lifted momentarily on Robinson’s men, but they were instantly pegged back when Yuel crossed from the byline and Boumal was on hand to bundle in a 53rd minute equaliser.

Keijiro Ogawa, Tate Russell and Jack Rodwell were introduced on the hour mark with the English import instantly threatening the Jets goal.

Rodwell had a second chance as he weaved his way past two Newcastle defenders and ran into the Jets box but could only fire his effort directly at Duncan.

The midfielder made his impact felt later in the half when he clattered into Angus Thurgate which prompted appeals for a send-off from the Jets’ dugout and a small section of travelling fans.

The Wanderers had further chances to seal victory but were unable to break down Newcastle’s defensive resolve and were forced to settle for a draw.

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