Western United have booked their place into the FFA Cup Round of 32 for the first time in club history, taking out the Newcastle Jets in a 2-1 victory at GMHBA Stadium.
On top in the early going in the first half, the Jets eventually worked their way back into the game with forward Beka Mikeltadze coming close to scoring in the 18th heading wide.
The deadlock looked to have been broken on the half hour mark when Angus Thurgate shot from range, though United ‘keeper did enough to make the save but the ball would take a unkind turn into his goal.
Though controversially the goal would not be allowed, with officials not deeming the ball to have crossed line, and with no VAR in the game, the game continued on scoreless before Lachlan Wales finally broke the deadlock in the 44th minute.
With neither Jets keeper Jack Duncan or defender Jason Hoffman failing to act upon a Steven Lustica long ball, Lachie Wales would pounce shooting into an empty net for the opening goal of the game on the stroke of halftime.
United defender Tomoki Imai’s foul on Mikeltadze would prove costly for the home side, with Brazilian loanee Daniel Penha scoring a stunning freekick from range,wowing critics across Australia.
United would secure victory through Aleksandar Prijović in the 79th minute where Duncan would push forward to make a clearing pass, though would make a cataclysmic error to allow Prijovic to pounce and fire United’s second goal into an empty net.
United will now take on the Wellington Phoenix on December 7 in their FFA Cup Round of 32 clash.
GOAL BLUNDER PROVES COSTLY
Having been on the back foot in the early part of the first half the away side eventually found their groove and should have taken lead in the 30th minute courtesy of Angus Thurgate.
Striking from range, his shot would be saved by Jamie Young but would take a wicked deflection into his own goal, but would not be given with the linesmen not deeming the ball to have crossed the line.
It comes as a controversial decision with the Jets ultimately going down in a close encounter and no VAR in FFA Cup matches preventing the decision from being reversed.
DEFENSIVE MISHAP COSTS JETS
Though looking comfortable going forward, the Jets had two major defensive blunders which costed them dearly in tonight’s game.
Keeper Jack Duncan would have two moments that he would like to forget, with his decision to not clear with ball on several occasions resulting in Lachlan Wales and Aleksandar Prijović to score into unattended nets.
The blunder raises questions about Jack Duncan’s starting spot at the Jets, with Noah James and new signing Michael Weier waiting in the wings.
ALOISI VICTORIOUS IN GAME ONE AS MANAGER
Western United Head Coach John Aloisi would prove to be victorious in his first competitive game in charge.
Having been tasked with the Melbourne Heart and Brisbane manager roles in the past, both of which ended poorly, Aloisi gave himself a good account tonight with his side putting in a solid performance before their season opener against the Melbourne Victory next week.
The win also progresses United to the Round of 32 in the FFA Cu[ for the first time in the club’s history.
FFA Cup Round of 32, GMHBA Stadium
Western United 2 (Lachlan Wales 44m, Aleksandar Prijovic 79m)
Newcastle Jets 1 (Daniel Penha 63′)
Image Source: Western United
HOW DID THE MANAGERS REACT:
Western United: John Aloisi
“It was a free flowing game both teams had a lot of opportunities even if they weren’t clear cut they were in good areas,” he said.
“I thought it was a really entertaining game, happy to get the first win because these boys have gone a long time without winning so it’s important to get that taste of winning again.”
Newcastle Jets: Arthur Papas
“There’s some disappointed players in that room right now, but I was proud of the performance,” he said.
“Congratulate them [Western United] first of all for their victory and progression to the Round of 32, and both teams are new teams still trying to find their feet and you saw that because both teams had some good passages.”