Jets share spoils as Griffiths sees red on return, gallery 

JOEL Griffiths was red-carded for dissent on his homecoming as the Newcastle Jets snatched athrilling 2-all draw with Western Sydney Wanderers at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night.
Nanjing Night Net

Joel Griffiths shows his frustration. PICTURE: JONATHAN CARROLL

An Adam Taggart stunner opened the scoring for the Jets. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

The Wanderers celebrate after hitting the front against the Jets. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Wanderers player Matthew Spiranovic wins the header ahead of his opponent. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Picture shows Wanderers player Matthew Spiranovic, left, and Jets player Zenon Caravella, right. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Western Sydney Wanderers fans celebrate. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Adam Taggart celebrates after opening the scoring. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Adam Taggart celebrates after opening the scoring. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Western Sydney Wanderers fans celebrate. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Western Sydney Wanderers fans celebrate. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Picture shows Wanderers player Nikolai Topor-Stanley, left, and Jets player Nicholas Ward, right. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Adam Taggart was involved in a controversial decision in the final seconds of the match, where he was taken out by Ante Covic. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Adam Taggart was involved in a controversial decision in the final seconds of the match, where he was taken out by Ante Covic. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

The Squadron show their support in their new location in bay 60. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Picture shows Wanderers player , from left, Dean Heffernan, Aaron Mooy, and Shinji Ono. Aaron Mooy has just equalised for the Wanderers: Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Aaron Mooy celebrates his equaliser. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

In a dramatic incident in the dying seconds, Griffiths received his marching orders for verbally abusing referee Ben Williams. He is now expected to serve at least a one-game suspension.

In between the brain snap from Griffiths and a pre-match injury to Emile Heskey, Jets striker Adam Taggart scored two goals – his seventh and eighth of the season – to earn interim coach Clayton Zane his first competition point since replacing the sacked Gary van Egmond last week.

Newcastle led 1-0 after a sensational Taggart solo goal but conceded twice totrail 2-1 before Taggart equalised in stoppage time.

Griffiths, playing in his first game for Newcastle in almost five years after stints in China and with Sydney FC, was introduced as a 64th-minute replacement and received a rousing reception from the 15,924-strong crowd.

The 34-year-old had been on the pitch less than two minutes when the visitors grabbed the lead, after a pinball-like scramble that ended with the ball rebounding into the net off Wanderers Michael Beachamp when Josh Brillante attempted a clearance.

In his 26 minutes of game time the best scoring chance Griffiths had was a 76th-minute free kick that passed harmlessly over the cross-bar.The Jets were dealt a significant setback before the match had even kicked off, when marquee striker Heskey suffered back spasms in the warm-up.Heskey was unable to take his place in the starting line-up and his last-minute withdrawal prompted a promotion for versatile substitute Nick Ward, in his third appearance since joining the Jets.

Ward was preferred to coach Clayton Zane’s other striking options, English veteran Michael Bridges and Griffiths.Ward came close to opening the scoring in the 13th minute, prompting a diving save from Wanderers keeper Ante Covic.

Thirteen minutes later, Covic was left with no chance when Taggart unleashed a right-foot screamer from 25 metres out.Taggart’s shot curled perfectly into the top left-hand corner for his seventh goal of the season and first since his memorable hat-trick against Melbourne Heart on November 24.

The home side looked set to take a deserved lead into the half-time break before Wanderers midfielder Aaron Mooy equalised with a pinpoint free kick in the 45th minute.It is now six games since Newcastle’s last win and they have slipped to ninth position, a point behind the top six.

There are 10 rounds remaining in the regular season, which leaves the Jets with ample time to turn their faltering campaign around.But there are increasingly worrying signs that they will miss the finals for the fourth successive season.

Rumours were circulating on Saturday that Newcastle officials hope to bolster their squad by signing former Socceroo David Carney, who is a free agent after parting company with the New York Red Bulls.

Joel Griffiths and Adam Taggart celebrate the Jets late equaliser. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Joel Griffiths and Adam Taggart celebrate the Jets late equaliser. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Joel Griffiths would be shown a red card for dissent, after fulltime. Picture: JONATHAN CARROLL

Comments are closed.