Jets can’t keep lead as Phoenix romp home

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The Wellington Phoenix have posted back-to-back wins for the second time this season after a 3-1 smash and grab win against the Newcastle Jets on Saturday afternoon at Hunter Stadium.

The Jets leaked three goals in the space of five minutes to give Phoenix maximum points after they trailed 1-0 at the break.

The defeat dumps more pressure on Jets coach Phil Stubbins and his struggling troops who remain winless this season and are sitting one spot off the foot of the table.

The Jets looked good in patches but appeared uneasy after they took the lead in the 24th minute and completely lost focus after Wellington equalised midway through the second period.

Stubbins said the team needs to determine why they cannot close out games and refocus their efforts before their next match.

“We’ve taken the lead five times now and we need to work out if there is fear factor attached for the boys in trying to bring the game home,” Stubbins said.

“Again we’ve succumbed in game where we’ve taken the lead and it’s very disappointing.

“I’ll certainly have to go and have a look at how we are going to address taking the lead. We could go out there and park the bus for 90 minutes though I don’t think that’s the way to go.”

In a cagey opening both teams looked focused on settling into the match but the first chance fell to Jets striker Joel Griffiths who was first denied by keeper Glenn Moss and then by the crossbar.

The Phoenix were gifted a golden opportunity at the other end to take the lead but Michael
McGlinchey posted a strong case for miss of the season after sending a perfectly timed Nathan Burns cross over the bar from right in front.

Wellington were made to pay just minutes later as winger Andrew Hoole squared a low ball from a David Carney cross across the face of goal for Griffiths to tap in at the back post for a 1-0 lead.

Despite the Phoenix taking a lead into half time, it was the Jets who finished the half the strongest with three great chances including a Carney free-kick that cannoned off the woodwork.

The second half opened in a similar fashion to the first with both teams focused on showing patient build-up play causing the ball to get bogged down the middle of the park.

Jets right back Scott Neville kept the score 1-0 with a perfectly timed slide tackle denying midfielder Rolieny Bonevacia a chance on goal.

Bonevacia then turned provider with a well-executed through ball allowing Burns to slip in behind the Jets defence and knock the ball around Kennedy to make it 1-1.

Just minutes later the Phoenix took the lead after Kennedy blocked a driving Bonevacia strike into his goal post only to see McGlinchey picking up the scraps at the back post.

Phoenix secured victory against the shell shocked Jets thanks to a superb Roy Krishna strike after the Jets backline afforded him far too much time and space in outside the 18 yard box with just over 10 minutes to go.

Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick said he was happy to get the win and was encouraged by his team’s positive play away from home this season.

“We’ve been talking about playing good football away from home and keeping possession and today we rode our luck a bit but we played some good football,” Merrick said.

“We scored three goals in five minutes between the 73rd and the 78th minute and we looked really good after that.

“Having said that though Newcastle are a good side and they’ll come good.”

Merrick and his team will now turn their attention to their match against the Central Coast Mariners at Eden Park next Saturday.

As for the Jets, Stubbins will look find a way to marshal his troops for their clash with top of the table Perth Glory at NIB Stadium  next Friday as they desperately look to reignite their fledgling campaign.

Newcastle Jets – 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 2.Scott NEVILLE, 4.Kew JALIENS (c), 6.Adrian MADASCHI, 6.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7.Jeronimo NEUMANN, 8.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Joel GRIFFITHS, 11.Andrew HOOLE, 13.Edson MONTANO, 14.Billy CELESKI, 16.Jacob PEPPER. 19. Mitch Cooper, 20.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 21.Sam GALLAWAY, 23.David CARNEY.

Wellington Phoenix 1.Glen MOSS (GK), 2.Manny MUSCAT, 4.Roly BONEVACIA, 7.Kenny CUNNINGHAM, 8.Alex RODRIGUEZ, 9.Nathan BURNS, 10.Michael McGLINCHEY, 11.Jeremy BROCKIE, 13.Albert RIERA, 16.Louis FENTON, 17.Vince LIA, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 19.Tom DOYLE, 20.Lewis ITALIANO (GK), 21.Roy KRISHNA, 22.Andrew DURANTE (c).

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