Third loss piles pressure on United

November 17, 2023 BY

Western United’s Tomoki Imai clears the ball from the backline during the Green and Blacks 1-0 loss at Mars Stadium on Saturday. Photo:

COACH John Aloisi is adamant the tide will turn for Western United despite the A-League Men club again going goalless in their third straight loss.

United suffered a 1-0 defeat to Newcastle, who claimed their first win under new coach Rob Stanton via Apostolos Stamatelopoulos’ goal in the 44th minute at Ballarat’s Mars Stadium on Saturday.

The defeat piles pressure on Aloisi’s United, who beat Melbourne City in round one but have since failed to score in three consecutive losses ahead of the international break.

“When you keep performing like that, goals will come,” Aloisi said.

“I know over the years of playing and coaching, when you’re creating chances and you’re controlling a game, you don’t want to change too much.

“You just want to keep making sure that you get better at it and then keep improving and then the chances will still come and we’ll get goals.

“So that’s the way that I look at it and then it’s happened in the past that it has turned pretty quick.

“Every game is a must-win. We want to win every game. We tried to win today. We played the game to win. We didn’t play to not win.

John Aloisi’s Western United have lost three ALM games in a row after an opening-round win.

“But we’re not going to become anxious about winning. We have to make sure that we keep on doing the right things and play our football.”

Aloisi played down a lengthy post-match chat with United chief executive Chris Pehlivanis as a general conversation about the game.

Earlier on the pitch, United’s Daniel Penha hit the crossbar in the 10th minute and then thumped home in the 40th.

But the ball clearly went out of play for a goal kick before Ben Garuccio’s assist and was chalked off after a VAR review.

Four minutes later, Newcastle scored.

Trent Buhagiar’s header clipped the bottom of the bar and the ball fell to Stamatelopoulos, 24, who powered home his fourth goal of the season.

“[Stamatelopoulos] has this winning mentality that he’s leading the others in the team as well,” Stanton said.

“He wants to learn, he wants to grow, and it’s rubbing off on a lot of players and the reward he got today is for pure hard work and dedication.

“So I’m over the moon for him.”

Newcastle’s Clayton Taylor looked for a penalty when he tangled legs with Josh Risdon in the 72nd minute but referee Casey Reibelt instead awarded a free kick to the United captain.

After a VAR review and checking the vision, Reibelt didn’t overturn her decision.

“You have to accept the decision, which I did, obviously, but I felt it was a penalty,” Stanton said.

Striker Nikita Rukavytsya thought he’d equalised for the hosts via a lovely looping header in the 87th minute but was ruled offside.