Sport Football A-League: Jets overcome Wanderers

A-League: Jets overcome Wanderers

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Newcastle have kept their A-League finals hopes alive overcoming Western Sydney for the first time this season with a 2-0 victory on Sunday.

The Jets climb to within two points of the top six with six games remaining before the finals.

A goal in each half to Kew Jaliens and Adam Taggart secured the win over an unusually lacklustre Wanderers side who appeared to be feeling the effects of their third game in a week.

Victory for Western Sydney would have bridged the gap between them and top-placed Brisbane but instead they remain seven points adrift.

The two goals aside, it was a largely uneventful game which felt as flat as the atmosphere at Parramatta Stadium.

The usually vocal Red and Black Bloc staged a silent game-long protest after Western Sydney imposed sanctions in response to flares being lit during Wednesday’s Asian Champions League (ACL) match, while only 12,079 fans attended in one of the smallest Wanderers’ crowds of the season.

Jets striker Joel Griffiths was handed his first start alongside key forwards Taggart and Emile Heskey as coach Clayton Zane sent a clear message his side were out to attack.

Zane’s gameplan looked like bearing fruit in the opening stages as Heskey had two chances to score, but the former England international misfired to be left still searching for his first goal this season.

With all the strike-force on the park for the Jets it was Dutch defender Jaliens who opened the scoring in the 35th minute heading home off an Andrew Hoole cross into the box.

The Wanderers returned from the break desperate to equalise but things just didn’t seem to be coming together for the reigning premiers, with largely the same starting line-up who played in Wednesday’s ACL loss to Ulsan.

Taggart looked like doubling the Jets’ advantage on the hour mark forcing a save from Covic, but 20-year-old eventually broke through in the 64th minute for his 10th goal this season.

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic brought on Brendon Santalab for Labinot Haliti with half an hour remaining but the striker was unable to find a consolation goal for the hosts.