The NRMA Insurance Western Sydney Wanderers experienced highs and lows at their new home ground as the Red & Black drew 2-2 with Newcastle Jets.It was the first ever professional football match played at Spotless Stadium and the ground looked to have turned into a Wanderers’ fortress early as the home team raced to a 2-0 lead at half time.
Goals to Aritz Borda and new captain, Dimas saw the Wanderers rewarded for a dominant first half but two goals in the final ten minutes meant the Jets salvaged a point.
The first half was dominant in every sense of the word as Kerem Bulut, Robbie Cornthwaite, Kearyn Baccus, Jumpei and Jack Clisby all had efforts on goal before Borda scored the opener.
Returning from suspension, the centre back got on the end of a Dimas corner to direct the ball into the bottom corner.
Scott Neville and Clisby both continued the first half onslaught with scoring opportunities before Dimas added to his earlier assist with a goal from the penalty spot after Steve Lustica’s cross was blocked by the arm of Ben Kantarovski.
The Wanderers’ newly-appointed captain scored his first goal in the Hyundai A-League before running to the RBB for a jubilant celebration.
The second half started much like the first as Cornthwaite, Mitch Nichols, Jumpei and Baccus all had chances to make it 3-0 and close the game: but with some good saves from Jets’ keeper Jack Duncan – and the need for more clinical finishing – the score remained at 2-0.
Newcastle, who had begun to play themselves back into the match, took full advantage of the missed opportunities as they scored off two set pieces within eight minutes of each other.
Firstly, a swinging free kick was met by the head of Nigel Boogaard to score Newcastle’s first before Andrew Hoole made it 2-2 with a free kick that drifted in at the near post.
It was not the result the crowd of 13,247 wanted to see but there was enough positives in the first 60 minutes to see the Wanderers will have a lot to offer this season.
The Red & Black return to Spotless Stadium on Saturday as they take on Central Coast Mariners. Kick-off is 7:50pm with tickets available on Ticketmaster.