The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets were defeated 1-0 by Western Sydney Wanderers at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night.
Playing in front of their biggest home crowd of the season of 16,634, the Jets had the first clear-cut opportunity of the contest in just the 4th minute following superb one-touch build-up play on the edge of the penalty area.
After receiving the ball from Zadkovich, Hoole played a square pass to Brillante who in turn lobbed a perfectly-weighted chip over the Wanderers defence into the path of Zadkovich, who had continued his run.
The Jets skipper took a touch, before aiming a shot towards the bottom corner, only to see it miraculously saved by the foot of Wanderers shot-stopper Ante Covic.
Brillante and Hoole were in the thick of the action again just two minutes late, with the Young Socceroos combing down the right.
Brillante found Hoole in space, but the right-winger was only able to hit the side netting from an acute angle.
The Wanderers fashioned their first goal-scoring opportunity in the 7th minute, with Mark Bridge finding enough space inside the penalty box to get a shot away, only to strike the ball directly into the waiting arms of Mark Birighitti.
Newcastle’s best attacking outlet early in the first half came through right-back Jacob Pepper, who delivered a number of dangerous crosses into the box.
One such ball in the 19th minute forced Covic to scramble at his near post and take the ball from the feet of Adam Taggart, who was lurking inside the six-yard box.
The Wanderers struggled to break down a well-structured Jets defensive unit in the early stages, with Mateo Poljak resorting to launching a low driven shot from well outside the box in the 20th minute that was easily wrapped-up by Birighitti.
The Jets had another half-chance to take the lead in the 25th minute with Adam Taggart chasing down a through ball from Hoole only to have his shot smothered by Covic who had come off his line quickly.
After a period of sustained pressure, it was the visitors who took the lead in the 33rd minute, courtesy of Mark Bridge.
Shinji Ono hit a cross from the right wing that found Labinot Haliti at the back post.
Haliti directed his header back across the goal towards Mark Bridge, who looped a header over Bririghitti and into the back of the net to give the Wanderers a 1-0 lead.
The Jets’ appeals for a foul by Haliti on Jacob Pepper in the lead up to the goal fell on deaf ears.
The Wanderers continued to control the lion’s share of possession during the dying stages of the first half and almost doubled their advantage in the 44th minute when Bridge hit the crossbar with a stinging drive after being left unmarked at the back post.
The Jets started the second half in a positive fashion, keeping possession well, but were unable to find a way through the Wanderers defence.
Ben Kantarovski attempted to curl a shot in from outside the box in the 47th minute only to see his effort sail high and wide of the target.
After an initial spell of dominance for the Jets to start the second half, the Wanderers issued a couple of warning shots, with Jerome Polenz forcing Birighitti to get down low and save his left-footed strike from outside the box in the 56th minute.
Aaron Mooy was the next to try his luck for the Wanderers, volleying just wide of the target in the 59th minute.
The introduction of Craig Goodwin in the 63rd minute gave the Jets another attacking outlet and the left-winger wasted no time getting involved, firing shots at goal in the 64th and 67th minute, but unable to find a way past Covic.
Birighitti was called into action again in the 58th minute, making a save low and to his right to keep out Haliti's shot that was headed towards the bottom corner.
The Jets went close to equalising in the 70th minute, with Taggart turning on a dime inside the box, but going to ground before he could get a shot away. The Jets’ appeals for a penalty were turned down by referee Jarred Gillett.
Newcastle had another chance to get back on level terms just three minutes later, with second half substitute Michael Bridges playing a ball over the top for Goodwin, whose header from close range was tipped around the post by Covic.
Despite the Jets’ best efforts to grab a share of the spoils over the dying stages, they were unable to find a way through a stubborn Wanderers’ defensive unit and the visitors took home all three points.
Newcastle Jets 0
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Bridge 33’)