A 10-man Western Sydney Wanderers hung on for a 2-2 draw away from home against the Newcastle Jets in their National Youth League clash.
A 10-man Western Sydney Wanderers outfit has hung on for a 2-2 draw away from home against the Newcastle Jets in their National Youth League clash at Wanderers Oval on Thursday night.
Western Sydney controlled the match in the first half-hour and led 2-0 courtesy of two wonderful strikes from dynamic midfielder Reece Caira.
The Jets worked their way back into the match with a headed goal from striker Stevan Ilic making it 2-1 at the break.
Newcastle dominated proceedings in the second 45 and deservedly equalised through Kyle Bradbery eight minutes before time.
The Wanderers were reduced to 10 men on the stroke of full-time when Caira was shown red for his second yellow card offence, but Western Sydney defended gamely to earn a point as the Jets launched a wave of attacks in injury time.
The match started in balmy conditions and it was Western Sydney who had the better of the play from the opening whistle.
Nicholas Olsen looked dangerous in the wide areas while striker Daniel Barac was threatening with some good service from the midfield.
The visitors duly went ahead in the 19th minute when Zakeriya Elrich broke free down the right and sent a dangerous cross into the box, where Caira made a late run to meet the ball first time and bury a well-timed volley into the net.
Caira doubled the Wanderers' advantage just after the half-hour mark when the Jets could only partially clear a swinging corner to allow the young midfielder to launch a vicious 20-yard drive that gave Newcastle goalkeeper Jack Duncan no chance.
The Jets eventually worked their way back into the match and mounted several promising attacks with Bradbery and Bobby Russell looking dangerous and they pulled a goal back just before half-time.
Andrew Hoole made a strong run down the right, beating two players before sending a looping cross towards the near post where striker Ilic met it with a spectacular diving header to give the Jets hope.
The Jets had the first chance of the second half when Bradbery cut a ball back to Jacob Pepper on the edge of the area, but he curled his shot narrowly over the crossbar.
Another weaving run from Hoole down the right created another chance for Pepper but it was the same result as he blazed his left-foot shot over.
The Jets continued to dominate and it didn't take long before James Brown made his presence felt with a good run down the right and pin-point cross to the six-yard box where Michael Finlayson pushed his shot wide under pressure from Wanderers goalkeeper Aaron Liddell.
Newcastle pushed forward and went close when Bradbery sent a ball to the back post where Brown saw his deflected shot saved by substitute goalkeeper Thomas Manos, who replaced Liddell in the 75th minute.
The Jets profited from their pressure when Bradbery grabbed the equaliser in the 82nd minute, taking a pass from Pepper before turning his marker and firing a shot into the bottom corner.
Western Sydney finished the match with 10 men when two-goal hero Caira received his second yellow card for a fairly innocuous push on Finlayson.
The home side pushed hard for the winner in injury time and went close to claiming all three points.
Manos produced two magnificent scrambling saves to swat away shots from Brown and Bradbery and a looping header from Connor Chapman before Koh Satake almost scored but saw his shot bounce off the crossbar.
Newcastle Jets 2 (Ilic 44, Bradbery 82) Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Caira 19, 33) at Wanderers Oval, Newcastle