SYDNEY – Newcastle earned its first away win in more than a year in Australian football’s A-League with a 1-0 win over Brisbane on Saturday.
Newcastle’s last win away from home was over the now defunct North Queensland Fury, 3-1, on Jan. 8 last year, and the Jets have since had 10 losses and three draws on the road. But Brisbane remains a favourite venue for the Jets, who have won there seven times in 10 visits in league games.
Jobe Wheelhouse scored in the 23rd minute to help lift Newcastle to seventh place, two points out of the top-six playoffs zone, while Brisbane dropped to third, 11 points behind league leader Central Coast, whose match on Friday against Gold Coast was postponed because of flooding.
Former Millwall striker and Barbados international Paul Ifill scored twice as Wellington beat Melbourne Heart 3-1 to move ahead of Brisbane into second place with its third-straight win.
Ifill’s English compatriot Chris Greenacre also scored as Wellington marked its return home after winning two matches in Australia for the first time in its history.
Later on Sunday, Perth beat Adelaide 3-0 to extend its unbeaten run to a club-record seven matches and to move into fourth place.
Shane Smeltz and Stephen McGarry put Perth 2-0 up before former Northern Ireland international Liam Miller clinched the win with his first goal for the Glory in the 83rd minute.
Melbourne Victory and Sydney opened the round on Thursday with a 2-2 draw at Melbourne.
Melbourne scored twice in the last minute of the first half, through Isaka Cernak and Brazilian Fabio, to take a 2-0 lead to halftime. But Sydney replied with second half goals to Bruno Cazarine and Sebastian Ryall, netting the equalizer in the last minute of normal time.
Wheelhouse took advantage of one of few genuine chances in the first half of Saturday’s match to give Newcastle a lead that endured through a nervous second half. Newcastle was playing its third match in eight days and was often sluggish on a rain-sodden surface after halftime.
The Jets spent the last 20 minutes of the match in all-out defence, managing to hold out Brisbane who continued to struggle with its finishing touches.
Jets coach Gary van Egmond said he was pleased to have taken four points from three away matches in eight days.
“It’s very pleasing,” van Egmond said. “We still have to get better in how we control the game.
“If we look at what Brisbane do, Brisbane are still the benchmark in regards to how you should be looking to try and play. We’ve played better at times this year and got nothing for it.”
Brisbane coach Ange Postecoglou said his side too often conceded an early goal in matches and had to dig its way out of trouble.
“We controlled the game pretty much for the whole 90 minutes but when you do concede a (an early) goal you are chasing the game,” Postecoglou said. “It allows the opposition to frustrate you and they did a good job of that for 90 minutes.”