Wanderers, Newcastle draw in A-League Men

Western Sydney coach Carl Robinson described his Wanderers side as “lethargic” after they laboured to a 2-2 draw against his old club Newcastle in the A-League Men competition.

A penalty from striker Beka Mikeltadze gave the Jets the lead following an abject opening half an hour from the Wanderers in front of a crowd of 8003 at Commbank Stadium. 

Bernie Ibini cut the deficit with teammate Tomer Hemed putting the home side ahead after half-time as a result of blunders from the Jets at the back.

Newcastle’s Olivier Boumal levelled shortly after but both teams were unable to seal a winner.

“We were lethargic, I’m not sure why and I’m going to have to find the reason for that,” Robinson said.

“We should’ve gone two goals down. I thought we were passive. 

“But if you don’t fight and scrap for first and second balls, you’re going to be beaten by any team in this league.

“You wouldn’t want to be in my mind on the sideline. There were so many mixed emotions. I try to remain calm rather than acting like a buffoon.”

It was a different story for Arthur Papas’ men who went ahead when Boumal cut into the Wanderers’ box and was met by a clumsy Rhys Williams challenge in the 19th minute.

Referee Ben Abraham pointed to the spot and Mikeltadze made no mistake as he finished to Tomas Mejias’ right for his first goal in Newcastle colours.

But after taking the lead, a poor touch from Matt Jurman saw Ibini equalise from the edge of the box in the 42nd minute.

Despite their sluggish start, the Wanderers found themselves level and were able to go ahead three minutes after half-time.

Another clumsy touch from the Jets at the back – this time from Kosta Grozos – was picked off by Hemed and the Israeli international made no mistake to power past Jack Duncan.

“Kosta will learn from that,” Papas said. “That’s his second A-League match in his career.

“He’ll get better and we will keep continuing to improve as a team.”

The pressure lifted momentarily on Robinson’s men, but they were instantly pegged back when Valentino Yuel crossed from the byline and Boumal was on hand to bundle in a 53rd minute equaliser.

Jack Rodwell was introduced on the hour mark with the English import instantly threatening the Jets goal before failing to score after weaving his way past two defenders.

The midfielder made his impact felt later in the half when he clattered into Angus Thurgate which prompted appeals for a send-off from the small section of travelling fans but Papas was happy with a booking.

“I haven’t seen it again and to make an educated call I’d want to see a replay. It didn’t look like a good challenge,” he said.

“The main thing is Gus isn’t injured. I don’t get too caught up in referees and decisions.”