Newcastle Jets have moved to within a win of the A-League Men top six with a second-half goal frenzy resulting in a 4-0 mauling of depleted Wellington Phoenix.
The hosts were frustrated throughout the opening stanza at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday evening until Olivier Boumal’s 51st-minute goal served to open the floodgates, with the Cameroonian international adding a second in the 63rd minute.
Beka Mikeltadze grabbed his ninth goal of the season four minutes later and Eli Babalj completed the procession in the 83rd.
“The first half, I didn’t feel that we had enough energy when we had the ball … ,” Jets coach Arthur Papas said.
“We were a bit lethargic in the way we were moving the ball.
“We spoke about our intention with the ball and when we did press, to press more aggressively together.”
Snapping a three-game losing streak, the Jets are now three points behind sixth-placed Sydney FC but have a game in hand over the Sky Blues – who they will face next Friday full of confidence.
“When you score, straight away you see the momentum change … It’s important to go on with it,” Papas said.
The Phoenix remain equal on points with Sydney although they have two games in hand on them but have an inferior goal difference.
“I thought we started the game well. First half was quite good,” coach Ufuk Talay said.
“Second half started we had a good opportunity to maybe take the lead and then we conceded a goal and we showed our naivety; when it was 1-0, when we were still in the game, we give the ball away and we concede the second.”
Compounding Talay’s worries, attacker Jaushua Sotirio exited the contest with a hamstring complaint. He will now be monitored to see if he will join Phoenix’s injured list.
David Ball missed the loss through suspension but will be available for their next fixture against Perth Glory next Saturday — so too will Oli Sail, Clayton Lewis, Ben Old and Ben Waine after they return from All Whites duty.
Reno Piscopo is also a chance to return but Tim Payne will head to Qatar for further qualifiers.