Jets fight back to earn A-League draw

Newcastle have recovered from a poor start to earn a 1-1 A-League draw against Western Sydney Wanderers in Carl Robinson's first game as coach.

Newcastle have shown plenty of character in their first A-League match under new coach Carl Robinson, fighting back to earn a 1-1 draw at Western Sydney Wanderers.

The Jets fell behind to a fifth-minute penalty from Wanderers' captain Mitchell Duke at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday, and could have been three down by the 15th.

But they gradually battled their way back and created several chances before Matt Millar beat goalkeeper Daniel Lopar at his near post with a fierce drive in the 75th minute.

The contest was delayed for 22 minutes due to heavy rain and thunderstorms..

Welshman Robinson says his halftime message to his team was to believe.

"We gifted a goal by a lack of defensive discipline and they took the opportunity and then for five to ten minutes we sort of had a little wobble and they maybe should have scored one or two more," Robinson said.

"But we hung in there, and from the 20-minute moment onwards, I think we got control in the game; the boys did exactly what I wanted.

"In the second half it was just a very, very strong performance and I think we got the goal we deserved, and (we) feel a little bit disappointed we haven't won the game."

The result left Wanderers five points adrift of the top-six and without a home win in their last six matches stretching back to October.

Duke blasted his spot-kick down the middle of the goal after Bruce Kamau was bundled over in the area by Bobby Burns, but they squandered two other gilt-edged chances to extend their lead.

New import Simon Cox was through but Jets' goalkeeper Lewis Italiano smothered the ball at his feet and then Duke had a shot rebound off a post.

Newcastle worked their way back into the game as the half progressed and Lopar pulled off some crucial saves in the ten minutes either side of halftime.

In the first half, he denied Dimi Petratos and blocked a close range toe poke from Millar.

Newcastle carried that momentum into the second half, with Lopar acrobatically tipping shots from Petratos and Steven Ugarkovic over the bar.

Italiano thwarted strikes from Keanu Baccus, Daniel Georgievski and Nikolai Muller, but Newcastle continued to push for an equaliser.

Burns hit a post and Lopar saved from Abdiel Arroyo, but the Wanderers' keeper would probably be disappointed when he was beaten by Millar's effort.

Wanderers' coach Jean-Paul de Marigny said the goal was the result of team failings rather than Lopar's and rued his side's lack of ruthlessness in front of goal.

"We had some great opportunities in the first half to kill them off and in the second half we asked for more intensity to start again and I felt we probably started a little bit slow," de Marigny said.

"After 30 minutes we started to drop a little bit too deep and that caused us problems.

"In saying that, I felt we defended really well with good resilience."


AAP