The Western Sydney Wanderers almost pulled of one of the best comebacks in the history of the Foxtel National Youth League competition as they played the Newcastle Jets.Losing 3-0 at half time, the Red & Black brought it back to 3-3 but fell behind after having a man sent off to lose 4-3.
Mario Shabow scored twice for the Wanderers while Abraham Majok scored the temporary equaliser on his Wanderers debut.
Opening the season against a strong Jets line-up who had a full allocation of four overage players, the young Wanderers found themselves behind early despite having a number of chances themselves.
Ramy Najjarine, Tariq Maia, Charlie Abou and Keanu Baccus all had the opportunity to score with Baccus’ effort having to be cleared off the line and Najjarine forcing an impressive save.
Nevertheless the Red & Black found themselves down 3-0 at the break after two impressive finishes and a penalty saw the Jets capitalise on some defensive errors.
The second half started with a bang as Shabow forced a fingertip save from the goalkeeper only minutes in but he didn’t have to wait long to open his account for the season.
Shabow converted a penalty before scoring what will be one of the goals of the season only minutes later.
Collecting the ball on half way, Shabow avoided a number of would be defenders, stayed on his feet when he was fouled and buried the ball deep into the net. He almost scored a hat-trick moments later as his first time strike rolled tantalisingly wide of the far post.
Even more joy was to come for the Wanderers as Majok scored the equaliser with a calm finish on his debut game for the Red & Black.
Pushing hard and in the ascendency, it looked only a matter of time before the Wanderers took the lead but it all changed as Lachlan Campbell was sent off.
During a Jets counter-attack, Campbell and an attacker came together with the referee judging the Wanderers’ defender to have brought the attacker down, sending him off.
The Jets scored off the resulting free kick.
Despite being a man and a goal down it was far from over for the Wanderers with Tariq Maia hitting the crossbar and Moudi Najjar having a pair of chances: putting a shot into the side-netting and hitting a free header over the bar.
In the end it was not to be with Newcastle holding on for the three points.
Next week the Wanderers take on Central Coast Mariners at Marconi Stadium. Kick-off is at 6pm on Sunday.
Newcastle Jets 4 (Ma Leilei 6’ Krsitian Brymora 16’ Mitch Cooper 26’ Andy Brennan 80’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 3 (Mario Shabow 54’ 56’ Abraham Majok 73’)
Western Sydney Wanderers: Nick Suman (GK), Keanu Baccus (C), Henry Davies, Abdelrahman Kuku (Lachlan Campbell), Jackson Bandiera, Charlie Abou (Moudi Najjar), Jacob Melling, Tariq Maia, Ramy Najjarine (Emilio Martinez), Mario Shabow, Abraham Majok
Unused subs: Daniel Axford (GK)