THE Newcastle Jets ended a tumultuous two days with 3-0 loss to a dominant Perth Glory at nib Stadium last night.
Former Newcastle player Travis Dodd scored a brace – one in each half – and Kiwi international Shane Smeltz converted a penalty to lead the Glory to their sixth straight win over the Jets in Perth.
The victory was Perth’s first since a 3-2 win over Newcastle in round five and moved them into fourth on 14 points.
The loss was the Jets’ third on the bounce. They remain on 13 points and have slipped to sixth.
The defeat came a day after the Australian Tax Office moved to wind up the Jets and the Newcastle Knights, as well as their parent company, Hunter Sports Group, over unpaid debts of $2.7million.
Owner Nathan Tinkler’s finances have been under increasing scrutiny for more than a year.
Two of his companies were placed in liquidation and his private jet and helicopter were repossessed last month.
Despite the growing speculation, Jets coach Gary van Egmond insisted that Tinkler’s financial position had no impact on the squad.
‘‘Not at all,’’ he said.
‘‘It has nothing to do with us.
‘‘At the end of the day we just worry about what we can control. What we can control is on the football field.’’
Defensive lapses again proved fatal for the Jets. All three goals came directly from mistakes.
‘‘It was a bit of a strange game,’’ the coach said.
‘‘I thought we were well and truly in the game and right on half-time we conceded and right after half-time we conceded ... lack of concentration.
‘‘Again you learn something from each game and we learnt something tonight.
‘‘Confidence is down and we need to pick ourselves up on the training field and get at Sydney.’’
The brace took Dodd’s tally to three for the campaign and ended a seven-week drought for the veteran.
‘‘It was a great team performance,’’ Dodd said.
‘‘We thoroughly deserved the victory and could have scored a few more goals.
‘‘It has been a confidence thing for us and to get a couple on target tonight lifts the boys.’’
Perth controlled the majority of the first half but it took until a minute before half-time for it to show on the scoreboard.
Jets keeper Matt Nash made two great saves to deny Michael Thwaite a header and a Shane Smeltz one-on-one, but he was unable to keep Travis Dodd at bay on the stroke of half-time.
The veteran, who played 114 games for Newcastle in the old national league, swooped on a sloppy pass from debutant Mitch Oxborrow, turned inside Josh Mitchell and slid a shot from 10 metres past Nash.
Oxborrow’s inclusion alongside Ruben Zadkovich was one of five changes to the Jets side that succumbed 2-0 to Central Coast.
Senior pair Josh Mitchell and Tiago returned to the centre of defence, Adam Taggart was rewarded for his Socceroos form with a place on the right wing, and James Virgili came in for James Brown on the left.
Liam Miller and Michael Thwaite returned for the Glory in place of Billy Mehmet and Steve Pantelidis.
Virgili had a golden opportunity to put the visitors ahead in the third minute when released on the counter by Taggart. The teenage flyer beat the offside trap but could not beat Danny Vukovic.
The next 20 minutes was all Perth. They made inroads down both flanks and forced the Jets to scramble in defence. The corner count was 7-0 after 30 minutes.
Oxborrow, 17, struggled to get in the game early as the Jets largely went route one, knocking it long to Emile Heskey.
Nash has been outstanding since joining the squad as an injury replacement, and he kept the visitors on equal terms in the 36th minute.
Smeltz muscled past Tiago but was unable to shoot past Nash, who dropped low to block the attempt from the edge of the area.
Oxborrow went into referee Ben Wilson’s book for a clumsy challenge on Liam Miller in the 41st minute.
He did not pay for that mistake but he did for the next one when his loose pass on the edge of the box was seized upon by Dodd.
Oxborrow did not return after the break, when Young Socceroo Josh Brillante was introduced as Gary van Egmond switched to a 4-4-2 formation.
The change in shape did little to alter momentum.
Nash dived full length to his right to parry a fierce strike from Jacob Burns two minutes after the break.
A minute later Dodd made it 2-0, crashing a free header from close range after a quick short corner.
Taggart had a chance to pull a goal back on the hour but his effort lacked the venom to beat Vukovic.
Any hope the Jets had of a comeback was wiped out 15 minutes from time when Glory were awarded a penalty after Josh Mitchell was judged to have felled Smeltz.
Mitchell slid in but appeared to get the ball.