Kasey Wehrman in action. Picture by Simone De PeakSydney FC defeated the Newcastle Jets 2-1 at Ausgrid Stadium.
Nanjing Night Net

SIXTY minutes had ticked by at Ausgrid Stadium, and the Newcastle Jets players were in cruise control. Too cruisy, as it turned out. They left the door ajar and paid the ultimate price.

Sydney FC were almost going through the motions to that point.

The odd shot here, a reasonable pass there, but nothing altogether brilliant. Then, against the run of play, Bruno Cazarine scored. A chill went through the majority of the 13,658 on hand.

Newcastle should have dug in, but they wilted. The result will show that Sydney won, but the truth is that the Jets lost. This was a smash-and-grab job. Recriminations on the Hunter will be scathing.

The Jets lost not only because they couldn’t defend a lead, but because they simply couldn’t defend. Young Taylor Regan and Tiago Calvano lost their bearings when the match was up for grabs. Tarek Elrich will cop an earful from Gary van Egmond over the opening goal for his positioning when dragged wide by Karol Kisel. It led to two tap-in goals.

Privately, Sydney officials were pleased to see Brisbane lose again during last week. They have a real belief they can go on to achieve a top-two finish. It’s hard to get one’s head around, but at the final whistle, the Sky Blues were two points from top spot. Why can’t they dream big?

Vitezslav Lavicka often criticises his team for their lack of finishing, but the strikers’ instincts of Cazarine and Juho Makela were razor sharp.

In most sports, Newcastle has a history of lifting in the presence of their city cousins but strangely not in football. The Jets have won three games against Sydney in six years. By half-time, it seemed they might pull one back.

Jeremy Brockie’s strike to give them the lead was a beauty. Ruben Zadkovich picked Michael Beauchamp’s pocket before racing down the line and crossing in before Terry McFlyn’s header looped up and into the New Zealander’s path. You’ll see his subsequent volley on highlight reels for years to come.

The Jets were well on their way to winning their fifth game in six matches at home – a necessity given their away form – until Cazarine’s goal. It provided a huge spark of confidence for the visitors. Makela came on and his impact was instant.

His direct running doesn’t always endear him, but it was standing still – and letting the Jets defenders run off him – that allowed him to nod home the winner. He ran to travelling supporters, and in an eerie repeat of his goal against Melbourne Victory last year, the fence collapsed under their weight.

Nobody was injured, but as final whistle blew soon after, a whole town was left to lick their wounds.

SMH