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Wanderers bottom after 2-1 loss to Jets

Western Sydney are back on the bottom of the ladder after going down 2-1 to Newcastle in Saturday’s A-League’s basement battle.

While the Wanderers have struggled this season as their hellish schedule takes its toll, things are even worse for the Jets who had entered the Parramatta Stadium encounter sitting dead last as the only side with just a solitary win.

But the three points leave them in ninth, three points clear of Western Sydney who have a game in hand, with both sides desperate to avoid the wooden spoon with five weeks remaining.

The Jets scored two first-half goals through imports Enver Alivodic and Lee Kiji, while Nick Kalmar netted a consolation for the Wanderers.

With injuries wreaking havoc on the Wanderers’ squad, coach Tony Popovic was forced to dig deep into his reserves and field a line-up which featured seven players who had less than 10 starts to their name.

Despite it being a clash between the league’s two least-attacking sides, it was a frenetic opening half with shots flying at both ends of the pitch.

The action heated up early when, with just 16 seconds on the clock, Newcastle’s Andrew Hoole easily busted through to attempt the first shot.

The Wanderers had a swift reply, however, when Jaushua Sotirio put Jets keeper Ben Kennedy to work in the fourth minute.

It would be the first of many shots for Sotirio, who remained a threat the entire half.

With all the inexperience in the Wanderers’ squad, it was stalwart Ante Covic who would falter.

The veteran came off his line to tackle a goal-charging Alivodic with the Jets’ Serbian recruit instead getting past the keeper to give the visitors the lead in the 22nd minute with his first A-League goal.

The Jets were left stunned in the 32nd minute when Edson Montano looked to have doubled their advantage but was ruled offside with replays clearly showing lineswoman Sarah Ho was wrong.

The Jets didn’t have to wait too long to widen the gap, however, with Hoole setting up Lee, who put them 2-0 ahead just before the break.

The Jets’ Taylor Regan gave away a free-kick just outside the box for a foul on Kalmer and would live to regret it.

Kalmer stepped up and scored from the set piece to claw one back for the Wanderers in the 51st minute.

Desperate to add more attacking fire power, Popovic brought on Nikita Rukavytsya for Alusine Fofanah with just over 20 minutes remaining.

But it was Kalmar who looked like getting the equaliser off another set piece, this time sending it just wide.

– AAP

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