LNTUP

A-League: Newcastle Jets 1-1 Western Sydney Wanderers

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Dimi Petratos scuppered a Western Sydney smash-and-grab by securing a 1-1 draw to maintain Newcastle’s unbeaten A-League season start.

The Wanderers looked set to rebound in style from their midweek FFA Cup semifinal defeat thanks to Mark Bridge’s sweet first-half strike.

That was until former Brisbane player Petratos stood tall in the heat at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle on Sunday to help his side end the round in third spot.

The Jets, in their first outing since Ronald Vargas’ horrific injury last Sunday, were the victims of their own lethargy most of the first half.

Ben Kantarovski had his hands full with Japan’s Jumpei Kusukami, who found some excellent form and provided the funky twirling backheel for Bridge’s finish.

After the break, Andrew Nabbout barrelled a speculative volley high and wide but the Wanderers maintained the pressure with consecutive set pieces.

 

Kearyn Baccus bravely battled an upset stomach for an hour but was eventually replaced by Roly Bonevacia.

Chris Herd joined him on the bench 10 minutes later after a collision with Nikolai Topor-Stanley and, with both Wanderers midfield anchors gone, the Jets immediately capitalised.

In-form Roy O’Donovan found space and rounded on Vedran Janjetovic, who parried his shot away, but Petratos was ready for the rebound to level the ledger.

With the equaliser in the bag and their tails in the air, the Jets probed Western Sydney’s territory while Topor-Stanley and Nigel Boogaard kept Spanish star Oriol Riera from netting a fourth goal in as many games.

Youngster Joseph Champness proved his worth in a cameo featuring a strike with nearly enough venom to rattle Janjetovic, but the hunt for a late winner proved fruitless.