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2018/19 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Roy O'Donovan (63')
  • Dimitrios Petratos (70')
  • Angus Thurgate (82')
  • Rashid Mahazi (43')
  • Keanu Baccus (74')

Newcastle Jets beat Western Sydney Wanderers in five-goal thriller

Newcastle coach Ernie Merrick's focus remains on building for next year despite a dramatic 3-2 win over Western Sydney improving their slender chances of making the A-League top six.

Teenager Angus Thurgate scored the 82nd-minute winner, his maiden A-League goal, at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday night to lift the Jets to 29 points, five behind sixth-placed Adelaide, who host Wellington on Sunday, with three full rounds remaining.

Merrick was enthused about the contributions of Thurgate and fellow youth internationals Joey Champness and Johnny Koutroumbis against the Wanderers, but held no real hopes of Newcastle catching the Reds.

"All we can do is play our best football and try and win every game," he said. "Unfortunately we're in a situation where other teams have got to lose. Really, Adelaide have got to lose just about every game and that's not going to happen, so we'll start building now for next year and we've got some good talent out there and exciting players."

Thurgate, 19, making his 14th A-League appearance, came off the bench in the 67th minute for Champness and was on the spot to strike home a loose ball for the winner.

Wanderers dominated the first half but they didn't score until the 43rd minute when Alexander Baumjohan's free kick found an unmarked Rashid Mahazi for the header. The Jets equalised in the 63rd minute when Daniel Georgievski crossed to find Roy O'Donovan free in front of goal. The Irishman took one touch before hitting a well-placed strike past Vedran Janjetovic.

Newcastle went ahead in the 70th minute when Dimi Petratos's corner kick swung in at the near post to go in off Janjetovic's hands. Wanderers were back on level terms just four minutes later when Keanu Baccus thumped a dipping strike from the top of the box to beat Glen Moss. The Jets, though, had the final say.

"The first 15 minutes wasn't very good. It was fairly negative, and then we started to come into the game," Merrick said. "Once they scored, we lifted and I thought we just got better and better. In the second half we controlled most of the game."

The win gave Newcastle a clean sweep over the Wanderers this season, to further frustrate coach Markus Babbel.

"In the first game we dominate them and couldn't win. The second game was 50-50, we lost 5-1. Today we dominate them and couldn't win," he said. "If you see the goals, it's too easy. I think they had four shots on goal and score three goals. Sometimes I wish our strikers had this space, this time to score a goal."