Western United have snatched a place in the FFA Cup Round of 32 in a dramatic 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets at GMHBA Stadium.
The few who braved the cold neared witness to a highly entertaining, end-to-end contest as United capped off their debut in the tourney and new boss John Aloisi’s tenure in charge with a win.
Lachlan Wales opened the scoring for Western just before-half-time but the Jets very well could’ve been ahead had Angus Thurgate’s ‘ghost goal’ counted moments prior.
Brazilian import Daniel Penha levelled the game with a long-range free-kick before a mistake at the back from Jack Duncan led to United marksman Aleksandar Prijovic scoring the winner in his club debut.
“Tonight, it may have felt that the football Gods needed to be on my side… it was good to get a little bit of luck when you needed it,” Aloisi joked post-game.
“I thought it was a really entertaining game and so I’m happy to get the first win. These boys have gone a long time without winning so it’s important to get that taste of winning again,
“All in all, really happy and proud of the boys because sometimes you need to grind it out and they did at the end.”
Both sides exchanged chances at either-end in a fast and furious opening half, but the Jets under Arthur Papas, looked the more slick going forward in the early going and should’ve been ahead just after half an hour.
Thurgate’s effort from range was poorly handled by Jamie Young who saved the ball onto the post, with the ricochet leading to the ball crossing the line and spinning out.
Despite the protests from the Jets players and without the assistance of goal-line technology or VAR, referee Jonathan Barreiro deemed that the ball didn’t cross the line.
“We saw it and it’s clearly gone over the line,” Papas said.
“There’s not really much to say about it, it’s gone over the line. We can sit and talk about it all day but at the end of the day we didn’t get our goal.”
The no-call was only amplified when United took the lead on the brink of half-time as Wales pounced on a mix-up at the back between Jason Hoffman and Duncan to slot in the opener.
With just under half-an-hour remaining, Newcastle would finally have their due reward, as Brazilian import Penha fired home a stunning free-kick to bring the game level.
However, unfortunately for the Jets, Duncan’s forgettable evening between the sticks was only just getting started.
The Jets shot-stopper came out to meet a speculative through-ball from Alessandro Diamanti but failed to clear the ball – leaving substitute Prijovic with an open net to tap home the winner.
United now face Wellington Phoenix in the Round of 32 on December 7, but will in the mean-time shift their focus to their season opener against cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory next Saturday evening.
Papas’ side will also have their hands-full with a local derby of their own to kick off the new A-League Men’s campaign when they host Central Coast next Sunday.
Image source: Getty