Sydney FC overcame the Jets in Newcastle to kick off 2023. (Image: Sydney FC - Twitter)

Newcastle has been handed a 2-0 loss by Sydney FC in front of a season-high crowd at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday afternoon. 8,041 fans came out for Angus Thurgate’s milestone match, with the homegrown midfielder making his 100th A-League appearance for the Jets.

Sydney scored two goals in four minutes to close out the first half despite the home side having most of the momentum in the opening 45 minutes. Newcastle had plenty of entries into the final third but struggled to test Andrew Redmayne between the sticks.

Scoring just nine goals in their 10 games, the Jets are one of the least prolific sides when going forward. They rank last in shots on target and have sorely lacked any assertiveness when entering the penalty area.

Talking to the press post-game, Jets coach Arthur Papas was asked whether he believes his team’s lack of consistency is a serious problem.

Papas insists it’s a league-wide issue, but he’s still striving for his team to be more clinical when given the chance.

“It feels like we’re the only team that’s ever called inconsistent,” Papas said.

“If the opposition doesn’t win today with what’s at their disposal then that’s big. There was another team that lost yesterday that’s also in the same boat.

“I know everyone is meant to focus on their own team, but no one across the league is building blocks of momentum.

“For us, we just need to be better going forward to build that momentum. We’re getting in good enough situations to be scoring goals and we’re not executing.

“That’s what we need to focus on, we need to start punishing teams for the amount of times we’re getting into their front third and inside the box.”

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Just four days after an underdog win over Adelaide in nearly 40-degree heat, Arthur Papas chose to go for an unchanged side. It was a questionable choice before kick-off and came to fruition throughout the match.

The home side looked sluggish and tired as the game drew on, struggling to complete sprint efforts or double up for second chances. Papas conceded his team looked fatigued but didn’t question his side, instead he pointed towards the tight schedule he’s had to face.

“They all trained well yesterday so we trusted them to back up after their performance in Adelaide,” he said.

“We’ll never be able to quantify what that truly took out of them, there were definitely signs of fatigue today.

“We’ve played five games in 21 days, it was always going to be a struggle for us to build consistency when we’re constantly coming off short breaks.

“The players haven’t had a day off in 11 days now, so they’ll get that tomorrow. This will be the first time since the World Cup that we get a full week to prepare.

“This week will be a lot about recovery and then looking at what we need to do for the next game.”

Teenage Striker Archie Goodwin was left out of the game-day squad for the third match in a row. The 18-year-old was a key piece of the Jets’ attacking line last season, scoring a brace in an upset win against the Sky Blues in their last meeting.

He’s found opportunities tough to come by so far this campaign after helping the Young Socceroos book a place in the 2023 under-20 Asian World Cup. He’s made only two appearances and is yet to have a shot on goal.

Papas said Goodwin is working hard behind the scenes but has to do more in order to force his way into the squad.

“There was an intra-club youth match about eight or nine days ago, if you want to play in the first team then you’ve got to be outstanding in that match you’d assume,” Papas said.

“You’ve got to be scoring goals and making sure you make it very hard for the selectors to knock you back.

“He’s working very hard, but so are other players. Today was the first time I had a complete playing list to choose from, so there were plenty of names that missed out.”

The Jets will enjoy a week’s break before travelling to play Macarthur who will be looking to bounce back at home after a 4-0 drubbing from the Wanderers. While Sydney returns home on Saturday to host a struggling Wellington side.

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