Sydney FC’s unbeaten start to the Hyundai A-League came to an end after a 2-1 loss to a Nick Carle inspired Newcastle United Jets at Energy Australia Stadium on Sunday night.
Not even Dwight Yorke’s second goal in as many matches could help Sydney FC, which dug its own grave with a below par first half performance.
Sydney FC fell 2-0 behind inside the first 20 minutes and despite a strong second half, where they outclassed Newcastle, they couldn’t drag back the Jets, who were good value for the victory.
Sydney FC Coach Pierre Littbarski made two changes to the team that defeated the New Zealand Knights 3-1 last Friday and started Yorke on the bench after he arrived back in Sydney yesterday morning.
Sasho Petrovski came back after World Cup duty with the Australian team to replace David Carney while Robbie Middleby started in favour of Andrew Packer.
Newcastle came out firing and took the lead in the 6th minute when Ante Milicic scored a tremendous goal after a delightful exchange of passes with Carle saw him behind the defence and he lifted the ball over the advancing Clint Bolton.
Sydney did manage to work its way into the game with David Zdrilic coming close with a volley but Newcastle doubled its advantage in the 18th minute when Richard Johnson found the back of the net with a fantastic strike.
Carle was again in the thick of the action, beating two players at halfway before releasing Milicic, who squared the ball across the penalty area for Johnson to drive his shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net to make it 2-0.
After a whirlwind start, the match settled down with both sides creating chances during an entertaining first half but Sydney were lethargic for periods of the opening 45 minutes. Sydney FC captain Mark Rudan had the best chance but his far post header from a free kick was blocked by Newcastle defender Jade North.
Littbarski reacted to the two goals by making two first half changes, bringing on Packer for Matthew Bingley in the 42nd minute and he injected Yorke into the match for Middleby in the 44th minute.
The changes, and a stern half time speech, made a difference with Sydney FC looking more dangerous in the early stages of the second half and Yorke should have had a penalty in the 47th minute when he was pulled back by Zelic with the goal at his mercy.
Steve Corica had a great chance in the 64th minute after an Ufuk Talay cross was flicked on by Petrovski into his path but his shot went sailing over the crossbar from 12m.
The match exploded in the 70th minute when Corica received a straight red card for a challenge on Newcastle substitute Mark Bridge. A melee involving all 22 players then broke out and Newcastle midfielder Mateo Corbo was also given his marching orders after shoving David Zdrilic in the face.
The game opened up and Yorke managed to pull a goal back for Sydney in the 77th minute when he hit a sweet drive into the bottom left hand corner of the net after Petrovski headed a cross into his path.
Sydney lifted another gear and was well in control of the play and when they received a free kick on the edge of the penalty area the stage was set for Yorke but his shot was blocked by a six man Newcastle wall.
The final 10 minutes saw the ball camped in Newcastle’s half of the field but they held on to record their first victory of the A-League and hand Sydney FC its first defeat.
Newcastle United Jets 2 (Ante Milicic 6, Richard Johnson 18) d Sydney FC 1 (Dwight Yorke 77)
Energy Australia Stadium, Newcastle
Sunday September 11, 2005
Referee: Matthew Breeze