Newcastle Jets scored a last minute equaliser to earn a share of the spoils against the Western Sydney Wanderers in their Foxtel National Youth League opener at Magic Park.A double to Lachlan Scott and a single goal to Tariq Maia looked to have wrapped-up the points for the Red & Black but a 93rd minute equaliser saw the Jets pull off an unlikely looking 3-3 draw.
With the Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League teams having both defeated Newcastle yesterday, the pressure was on the boys to claim a white wash and the signs didn’t look good early with the home team taking an early lead through a free-kick.
The pressure didn’t last though and as the Wanderers began playing themselves into the game, net interplay around the box and sharp finishing saw them take the lead with two Scott goals in three minutes. Both goals were a product of an excellent pass and a finish to match as firstly Tariq Maia, then Josh Macdonald set-up goals for Scott.
It could have been a hat-trick too as only minutes later the centre forward headed a free-kick onto the crossbar.
The second half started with the Jets firing: equalising six minutes into the half and almost taking lead only for a brilliant save by keeper Nicholas Suman.
A bit of magic though restored the Red & Black’s one goal advantage when Scott knocked down an excellent ball for Macdonald who rounded his marker, ran down the by-line and laid it off for Tariq Maia to side-foot home. It was just rewards for an unselfish performance by Maia who had been creating chances for others all morning.
The lead looked like it was going to be extended the longer the match went on as Golgol Mebrahtu, returning from injury, hit a long-range lob into the crossbar before fellow substitute Kyle Cimenti brought the best out of the Jets keeper with an instinctive poke in the box.
Unfortunately it all fell apart for the Wanderers deep into additional time as first the Jets were denied a penalty before the home side equalised in the 93rd minute.
A cruel blow for the Red & Black but a performance to be proud of, especially in the opening round of the season.
The team next plays at Marconi Stadium against Central Coast Mariners in a double header with the Westfield W-League on Sunday 15 November. Kick-off is 10:30am (NYL) and 3pm (WWL).
Newcastle Jets 3 (Cowburn 7' Lundy 51' 93')
Western Sydney Wanderers 3 (Lachlan Scott 39' 41' Tariq Maia 58')