JETS skipper Nigel Boogaard was sent offas Newcastle coppeda club-record 6-1hammering fromPerth at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
The landslidemargin equalled Newcastle’s heaviest previous loss on their own turf–5-0to Brisbanein January, 2006–and set a new benchmark for the most goals they have conceded in a home game.
The 7-0 massacre in Adelaide almost 12 months ago remains the worst defeat in Newcastle’s history.
Already the most sent-off player sincethe A-League’s inception, Boogaard received his marching orders on the stroke of half-time after two bookable offences in the space of 10 minutes.
He earned a yellow card from referee Shaun Evans in the 35thminute for a challenge of Perth striker Chris Harold, then another awkward tackle on Josh Risdon resulted in the towering defender making an early exit.
It was the eighth send-off of Boogaard’s career and second in 12 games this season.
He is now three clear of the next worst offender, former Melbourne Victory enforcer Kevin Muscat.
Jets coach Scott Miller refused to be critical of Boogaard but admitted Newcastle struggled when they were reduced to 10 men.
“Ah, let’s not even touch on that,’’ Miller said.“What a skipper he is. What a leader he is.It’s an attribute of a central defender…there will be no blame at his feet whatsoever.’’
Nonetheless, Miller admitted his players struggled to cope psychologically with Boogaard’s early departure.
“Mentally it must have been very hard for the players to take,’’ Miller said.“Technically, they’re a good side, Perth. But we’re not a side that should be getting beaten to this level.
“We’re disappointed about it. It’s a hard one to take.’’
Newcastle trailed 2-1 when they lost Boogaardand Perth capitalised on their numerical advantage.
Perth dominated the second half, scoring four goals.
It was a remarkable turnaround, given the Jets dominated the opening exchanges and drew first blood with a headed goal from striker Milos Trifunovic, after a David Carney corner, in the 14thminute.
The result was a body blow to Newcastle’s already-slim hopes of reaching the finals. After last week’s 3-1 win against Wellington, the Jets had clawed their way back to within four points of the top six.They are now seven points adrift with 11 games remaining, and if they lose to sixth-placed Adelaide on Sunday they could be 10 points off the pace.Perth moved level with Newcastle on16 points but are ahead of them on goal difference.
After the opener from Trifunovic, Perth took 10 minutes to equalise, with a Harold header. Newcastle were powerless to counterthe momentum swing.
“We were the dominant side…I’m pleased for the guys. They got their just rewards,’’ Perth coach Kenny Lowe said.
DON’T LOOK NOW: Newcastle’s David Carney and Ryan Kitto on Sunday. Picture: Jonathan Carroll