Newcastle Jets remain winless in the A-League after again throwing away a lead to lose 3-1 against the Wellington Phoenix at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.
The Phoenix scored three times in six second-half minutes through Nathan Burns, Michael McGlinchey and Roy Krishna to cancel out Joel Griffiths' first-period strike.
It was a similar tale to past Jets performances this season with the home side playing some nice football but ultimately falling apart when the heat was turned up.
WHAT THEY SAID
"Playing with Mikey and Burnsey is making my work much easier, I know they are more experienced but they know my pace and just give me the ball." - Wellington Phoenix winger Krishna
"In this case it was more up to personal fault. We played compact, everybody had their game plan but if you keep giving away goals like this there is no game plan up to that." - Newcastle captain Kew Jaliens
1-0 Griffiths (24’) – The in-form David Carney picked up the ball in right channel, drove down the flank, cut inside and lofted a superb cross that found Andrew Hoole at the back post. Hoole volleyed the ball first-time across the face of goal and Griffiths slid in to convert from point-blank range.
1-1 Burns (73') - Roly Bonevacia splits the Jets defensive line by finding Burns' run, with the Australian taking a touch, rounding the keeper and passing the ball into the back of the net.
1-2 McGlinchey (74') - The Kiwi international taps into an empty net after Bonevacia's stinging shot from a tight angle is parried by Jets keeper' Ben Kennedy on to the far post. Replays showed that McGlinchey was marginally offside when Bonevacia hit his shot.
1-3 Krishna (78') - The pick of the bunch. Krishna got on the ball about 40 yards from goal, with no Jets defenders applying the pressure, the Fijian strode in and unleashed an unstoppable shot inside the left post from just outside the area.
After being profligate in front of goal, Burns showed his Phoenix teammates how it was done with a superb touch around Kennedy and finish after Bonevacia expertly picked out the Australian's run beyond the defensive line. The equaliser gave Wellington the impetus to push on for the victory.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
It is the fifth time the Jets have led a match this season but have failed to win with the defeat continuing a run of nine games without a win to start the campaign - Newcastle's worst ever start to a season.
The power in Krishna's strike was simply stunning as the Fijian scored this third goal in the last three matches. A failure to put pressure on Krishna as he approached the edge of the box was damning with the winger's strike absolutely unstoppable despite Kennedy's full stretch dive.
It could have been a more comfortable match for the Phoenix if McGlinchey had taken advantage of three clear-cut chances in the first half. The Kiwi spooned a perfect Burns cut back over the bar, failed to punish Kennedy's fumble and then had a shot saved after being released by Alex Rodriguez.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
Ernie Merrick sent out the same side that thumped Melbourne City 5-1 last week but despite playing some brilliant attacking football, the Phoenix's lack of prowess in front of goal meant a late burst was needed to secure victory. Griffiths rewarded Phil Stubbins with his first start in for three weeks but it was an all too familiar story with the Jets shutting down once confidence was lost after Burns' goal.
THE FINAL WORD
Newcastle's search for a win doesn't get any easier with a trip to league leaders Perth Glory on Friday night while Wellington Phoenix will shoot for three wins in a row when they host Central Coast Mariners on Saturday afternoon.
Newcastle Jets: Kennedy (GK), Neville, Jaliens (C), Madaschi, Gallagher, Kantarovski, Celeski (Pepper 8'), Hoole (Jeronimo 69'), Griffiths, Carney, Montano (Cooper 79')
Wellington Phoenix: Moss (GK), Muscat, Sigmund, Durante (C), Doyle (Fenton 46'), Riera, Bonevacia (Cunningham 87'), Rodriguez (Lia 71'), Krishna, McGlinchey, Burns
Scorers: Griffiths 24', Burns 73', McGlinchey 74', Krishna 78'
Red cards: None
Yellow cards: Krishna 86'
Conditions: 22C, Wet
Attendance: 9,152 @ Hunter Stadiumcomments