Jets suffer narrow defeat in Wellington

A solitary goal by Wellington Phoenix striker Dylan MacAllister has resulted in agonising defeat for the Newcastle Jets at Westpac Stadium.

The Newcastle Jets have been defeated 1-0 by a Wellington Phoenix side that has not lost at home in its last six matches at Westpac Stadium.

Livewire winger Marco Rojas set up striker Dylan MacAllister for the winner in the 20th minute with a lung-busting run down the right flank. It was MacAllister-s sixth goal of the campaign, and the result lifts the Phoenix into sixth position on the Hyundai A-League ladder heading into the final three weeks of the competition.

For the Jets, Jeremy Brockie created a couple of quality opportunities in his first start since returning from a broken foot, and the enterprising Marko Jesic rattled the Phoenix woodwork in the second-half with a venomous drive from long range.

Controversy overshadowed much of the play late on when Jets striker Ryan Griffiths was shown a straight red card by referee Chris Beath in the 66th minute. The send-off dramatically slowed Newcastle-s push for an equaliser, with the Phoenix content to sit on their one-goal advantage.

After a tentative initial period from both sides, Rojas brought the game to life when he broke down the sideline with electric speed before playing an intelligent ball in behind the Jets defensive line. The experienced MacAllister made no mistake with his first opportunity of the match, calmly stroking the ball home with a first-time strike.

The Nelson-born Brockie then looked to restore parity in the closing stages of the first-half when he found himself on the end of two excellent chances in front of goal.

After some fine lead-up work firstly by Jesic, followed by Marcello Fiorentini on the second occasion, Brockie-s goalbound strikes were both denied by the safe hands of Wellington custodian Danny Vukovic.

Jesic took matters into his own hands just after the halftime interval, carrying the ball into the space in front of the Phoenix defence before unleashing a wicked strike from 30-yards which left Vukovic rooted to the spot. Unfortunately for the 20-year-old, the dipping ball managed only to thump against the post.

Griffiths then attempted the spectacular to get the visitors back on level terms. But his acrobatic overhead kick from a Tarek Elrich cross in the 59th minute was parried away by the powerful right hand of Vukovic.

It was to be essentially the former Beijing Guoan man-s last involvement of the match, though, as he was given his marching orders for dissent as the Jets appeared to be gaining the ascendancy.

Clear cut goalscoring opportunities were few and far between thereafter, despite Branko Culina throwing on attacking substitutes Labinot Haliti and James Virgili for the final quarter of an hour.

The result leaves the Jets on 31 points heading into this Wednesday-s clash away to the fifth-placed Melbourne Victory before returning home to take on NSW rivals Sydney FC at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Sunday, 6 February. To secure your tickets to this intra-state derby visit www.proticket.com.au today.

Match Details:
Wellington Phoenix: 19. Danny VUKOVIC (gk), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Nick WARD (11. DANIEL 60-), 6. Tim BROWN, 13. Troy HEARFIELD, 17. Vince LIA (9. Chris GREENACRE 71-), 18. Ben SIGMUND, 21. Marco ROJAS, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 23. Dylan MACALLISTER

Unused Substitutes: 20. Reece CROWTHER (gk), 10. Oscar CORNEJO

Yellow Cards: Andrew Durante 53-, Troy Hearfield 56-, Vince Lia 68-, Ben Sigmund 80-, Manny Muscat 82-

Red Cards: Nil

Newcastle Jets: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Taylor REGAN, 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 11. Tarek ELRICH (26. James VIRGILI 73-), 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 17. Marcello FIORENTINI, 24. Sam GALLAWAY 16. Jeremy BROCKIE (14. Labinot HALITI 70-), 23. Ryan GRIFFITHS, 18. Marko JESIC

Unused Substitutes: 40. Matt NASH, 31. Jacob PEPPER

Yellow Cards: Nikolai Topor-Stanley 26-

Red Cards: Ryan Griffiths 66-

Wellington Phoenix: 1 (MacAllister 20′)
Newcastle Jets: 0