Exciting 17-year-old forward Archie Goodwin has scored twice in his first A-League appearance of the season, as a vastly depleted Newcastle scored a 2-0 home win over Sydney FC.
Playing his first A-League game in nine-and-a-half months, local product Goodwin struck with well-taken goals in the 41st and 43rd minutes of Friday’s match at McDonald Jones Stadium.
“Just getting one was a dream but to get two feels amazing,” Goodwin told Paramount Plus at halftime.
“Its been a tough journey for me pre-season and just getting back on the field is a relief and just happy to score goals,” added the teenager who has had to combat injuries throughout his fledgling career.
Notching back-to-back wins for the first time this season, Newcastle moved up three places to seventh, just three points and one spot behind Sydney, who have played two more games.
With COVID, injuries and international call-ups ravaging their squad Newcastle approached the APL about deferring the game, but were told there was no opportunity for the match to be rescheduled and a postponement would mean no points awarded.
“We’d be letting down our members if we didn’t have a go, I think we wouldn’t be doing the right thing by this community if we just decided to take that route,” Jets coach Arthur Papas said
“That was a decision that we made collectively and it’s turned out to be a very good night for us.
“The players were outstanding in their effort, their attitude, their togetherness. Very proud of them.”
Leading scorer Beka Mikeltadze, Angus Thurgate and Jason Hoffman were among the unavailable players.
Newcastle had just one of their three goalkeepers available and only signed a backup less than five hours before the game.
Goodwin and 20-year-old Lucas Mauragis stepped up magnificently and showed plenty of zest against a lacklustre Sydney.
Mauragis, who had a superb third minute volley acrobatically tipped over by Sydney goalkeeper Thomas Heward-Belle, later produced a superb chip to the far post which Goodwin headed home.
Goodwin doubled the Jets lead two minutes later when he raced onto a through ball from Brazilian Daniel Penha and cooly slid the ball past Heward-Belle.
Sydney, who were without Socceroos Andrew Redmayne and Rhyan Grant, dropped a place to sixth, slipping below Melbourne Victory on goal difference.
“It was very flat especially that first half performance,” said Sydney coach Steve Corica, who hadn’t anticipated Goodwin might start.
“We weren’t winning any second balls, we weren’t winning any challenges they looked a lot sharper than us in the first half and we conceded two costly goals late in the first half.”
Sydney took 40 minutes to get a shot on target, but were more dangerous in the second half, especially after coach Corica brought on Trent Buhagiar and Kosta Barbarouses in the 50th minute for Milos Ninkovic and Luciano Narsingh.
Buhagiar, Adam Le Fondre and substitute Bobo all went close for the Sky Blues, but Newcastle had chances in the final quarter.
Substitute Eli Babalj shot weakly at Heward-Belle and Taylor Regan had what would have been his first A-League in eight years rubbed out after VAR spotted a teammate offside.