Western United survive late onslaught to beat Jets

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Western United survived a hectic last ten minutes to beat Newcastle Jets 2-1 on a cold and wet Saturday afternoon in Ballarat.

Swiss defender Leo Lacroix scored a rare double as Western returned to the top of the A-League Men’s table without Alessandro Diamanti and Josh Risdon.

The first-half was a dour affair, with Lacroix’s 16th minute header separating the two sides at the break.

After Lachlan Wales picked up Jordan Elsey’s misplaced pass and won a corner, Ben Garuccio’s delivery was met at the near post by the tall Swiss defender.

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Jack Duncan could do nothing to stop Western from once again holding a 1-0 scoreline.

The home side controlled the tempo of the game, stifling Newcastle’s transition play and limiting them to few chances in the opening 45 minutes.

The Jets first shot was one of frustration, as Daniel Penha picked up the ball in the 29th minute, striking it directly at Jamie Young from 25 metres out.

Two minutes later, the travelling side should have drawn level. Penha’s corner was completely missed by Young, giving Elsey an open goal to aim at. However, he completely missed the target to the bemusement of head coach Arthur Papas.

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The second-half started much the same way as Penha once again found himself frustrated, but this time was shown a yellow card for directing it at the fourth official.

It went downhill from here for the Jets, as Dylan Pierias’ driving shot from the edge of the box was deflected onto the crossbar in the 51st minute.

The resulting corner saw Western double their lead.

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Following an initial clearance, Steven Lustica lobbed the ball back into the box as Prijovic got there before Duncan, giving Lacroix the easiest of headers into an empty net.

VAR confirmed the goal with Prijovic getting to the ball before making contact with the keeper, much to the anger of Newcastle’s back four.

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The home side almost made it three only a few moments later as Lacroix’s lofted-ball over the top played in Prijovic one-on-one with Elsey. His tame shot though was well saved by the feet of Duncan.

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A bright period for Newcastle followed, but all that came of it was a Mikeltadze free-kick directed straight into the hands of Young.

That changed in the 81st minute, as Penha’s magical cross was met at the back post by Dylan Murnane. The substitute cut it back for an easy tap-in by Angus Thurgate to give the away side some hope.

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Eli Babalj should have equalised in the 88th minute as his wide-open header went just wide of the far post.

Nikolai Topor-Stanley was given a red card in stoppage time for a poor tackle on Olivier Boumal, but it was changed to a yellow upon review by referee Lachlan Keevers.

Western hung on for the win, which sees them return to the top of the table with a game in hand on second-placed Melbourne City. Newcastle remain in eighth ahead of Wednesday’s match against Wellington Phoenix.

Western United 2 (Lacroix 16, 52’)

Newcastle Jets 1 (Thurgate 81’)

Mars Stadium (Ballarat)

Referee: Lachlan Keevers

Western United: Jamie YOUNG (GK), Tomoki IMAI, Leo LACROIX, Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (C), Benjamin GARUCCIO, Neil KILKENNY, Rene KHRIN (Jerry SKOTADIS 60’), Dylan PIERIAS (Adisu BAYEW 73’), Steven LUSTICA, Lachlan WALES, Aleksandar PRIJOVIC

Unused subs: Benjamin COLLINS, Nicolas MILANOVIC, Ryan SCOTT (GK), Christian THEOHAROUS, Dylan WENZEL-HALLS

Newcastle Jets: Jack DUNCAN (GK) , Dane INGHAM (Savvas SIATRAVANIS 84’), Jordan ELSEY, Matthew JURMAN (C), Jason HOFFMAN (Taylor REGAN 61’), Mario ARQUES, Angus THURGATE, Samuel SILVERA (Olivier BOUMAL 61’), Daniel PENHA (Eli BABALJ 85’), Valentino YUEL (Dylan MURNANE 61’), Beka MIKELTADZE

Unused subs: Eli BABALJ, Kostandinos GROZO, Michael WEIER (GK)

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Dillon Izon
Dillon Izon
Marketing graduate at Monash University. Sports addicted, fan of Manchester United and Melbourne City. My gran “knows” Gareth Bale.

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