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Newcastle, Wellington fight out AL draw

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/12/2016 Emma Kemp

Roy Krishna set up a crucial Phoenix goal. © Tony Feder/Getty Images Roy Krishna set up a crucial Phoenix goal. Newcastle have climbed back into fifth spot on the A-League table and will see in the New Year inside the top six after holding a re-energised Wellington to a 2-2 draw.

The Jets twice had to come from behind at McDonald Jones Stadium on Boxing Day.

Andrew Hoole and Andrew Nabbout cancelled out goals from former Melbourne Victory duo Kosta Barbarouses and Gui Finkler.

There were ample opportunities for a winner in an open, end-to-end affair, with fifth place the reward for both sides.

Although the Jets took 18 shots to Wellington's 12, Mark Jones' side were unable to claim their first treble of victories since November 2013.

For the eighth-placed Phoenix, it was a missed chance to wrap up a remarkable post-Ernie Merrick resurgence and spring from last place when the coach resigned to fifth just three weeks later.

The Jets piled on all the early pressure, their pace and crisp passing causing Wellington problems at the back

Yet for all their early dominance, the spirited Phoenix clung on and claimed first blood.

Roy Krishna provided the lead-up work and the pinpoint pass that released Barbarouses, who warded off two defenders before toe-poking his first goal of the season past Jets goalkeeper Jack Duncan.

The platform had been laid minutes earlier when Gui Finkler hit the upright off a free kick following Steven Ugarkovic's alleged handball and the near-miss sparked Wellington into life, Krishna heading a Finkler corner over the bar moments later.

Halftime substitute Morten Nordstrand wasted no time evening the score on 48 minutes, latching onto a long ball and squaring up for Hoole to drill home the equaliser and his third goal of the season.

No sooner had it happened the Phoenix reclaimed the lead as Krishna drew an opponent before crossing for Finkler to tap into an empty net.

Jones' frustrations soon erupted and the coach copped a warning from referee Jarred Gillett.

But his disappointment soon subsided when his standout performer scored the Jets' second as Nabbout, the winger with four man-of-the-match awards in eight appearances, curled a near-unstoppable shot inside the far post.

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