Jets stun United for first A-League win

Angus Thurgate has scored the winner in Newcastle's 1-0 A-League upset of Western United in Geelong.
Angus Thurgate has scored the winner in Newcastle's 1-0 A-League upset of Western United in Geelong.

Newcastle have delivered a mighty upset to secure their first A-League win of the season, defeating Western United 1-0 in Geelong.

Newcastle deservedly took the lead after 36 minutes through 19-year-old striker Angus Thurgate and, while United grew into Saturday night's game, they were unable to find a response at GMHBA Stadium.

"I thought we really dominated the first half - we had 10 shots to three and we entered the penalty box 24 times to their 12 but, again, we only had one goal to show for it," Jets coach Ernie Merrick said.

"And towards the end there, of course, Western United threw a lot of players forward and that happened against Perth Glory last week and we couldn't cope with it and, today, we coped with it.

"So it's a credit to the boys, we seem to learn lessons as we go along but I think we're all very happy with three points and we're up and running now."

United were bolstered by Besart Berisha's return, while Josh Risdon made it back from international duty in time to start, but Panagiotis Kone missed with a hamstring injury.

In Kone's absence, United struggled to control the midfield, with industrious Newcastle duo Steven Ugarkovic and Ben Kantarovski keeping the Jets ticking over.

Thurgate came closest to opening the scoring in the 31st minute when his skidding shot just inside the box forced a difficult diving save from Filip Kurto.

Five minutes later, Thurgate broke the deadlock.

Matt Millar found the striker, who showed some terrific hold-up play to one-touch the ball to Dimi Petratos and continue his run.

Petratos fed a well-weighted ball back through to Thurgate, who slid a delightful finish past Kurto.

United were better in the second half, with Alessandro Diamanti consistently threatening, and Risdon looked to have equalised in the 70th minute when Diamanti cut onto his right foot and sent a curling ball to the back post for the defender to head home.

But the goal was ruled out after a VAR review showed Berisha had been offside in the build-up, with the Jets holding on for the win.

"A game of two halves really - I thought we took too long to get ourselves into the game. We were very slow in possession; we weren't getting into our set positions early enough; ball speed wasn't quite there," United coach Mark Rudan said.

"We played into their hands as well. We played very much in front of them and they were just patient - playing slow allows them to get them into their shape and then they were waiting to pounce on the counter-attack and did that very well in the first half."

Australian Associated Press