The Jets came agonisingly close to a second consecutive wins against the top two teams in the A-League yesterday. Instead a draw ensued, with Brisbane Roar coming from behind to register a 1-1 draw on their fifth consecutive away game.
Newcastle were easily the better side and looked lively throughout the whole game, with new guest striker Francis Jeffers once again shining on the EAS pitch.
The home side started well, with Jesic almost putting the side ahead as early as the 7th minute, however his shot from a Wehrman through ball was saved by Theoklitos.
Soon after and Jeffers almost created the opener, pressuring Theoklitos on his six-yard box and managing to block the keeper’s clearance.
However the ball dropped awkwardly for the English striker and his attempt to pass back to Jesic was wayward and Abbas eventually had a shot blocked in a missed opportunity.
Reinaldo had a shot straight at Ben Kennedy down the other end, before Kantarovski had a decent effort tipped behind for a corner from a full-stretched Theoklitos.
The Jets had completely dominated the game going into the break, having forced a number of harried clearances and won a number of corners, while looking comfortable in defence. However the sides went in level.
Not long after half time and the Jets were ahead, as Wehrman delivered his third consecutive corner in the 53rd minute for Ben Kantarovski to head home his first A-League goal in his career.
The defending from Brisbane was extremely poor, with the home-grown lad hardly even leaving the ground for his header.
The Roar then started to control possession for longer periods, and almost drew level through Mitch Nichols who hit the post with a fierce drive.
While the Jets seemed content to sit back a bit more and play long balls up front after their goal, they were still creating the better chances, and Jeffers really should have scored when put through one-on-one with Theoklitos, however a tired shot was blocked.
Moments later and Brisbane were level, as the Jets defence switched off and allowed Ivan Franjic the space down the right hand side to cross for subsitute Solorzano to tap home from less than 6 yards out.
While the crowd, the team and Branko all complained that an offside flag should have been raised the truth was that the Jets should have already been two or three goals up.
Zadkovich, who had earlier seen a cross-cum-shot saved at the near post, saw his fierce drive pushed onto the post by Theoklitos late in the game, while Haliti also saw a decent opportunity go wide of the post as well.
All in all it was a decent result for the Jets, however they will be bitterly disappointed they didn’t grab the three points in a game they should have won.
“It is probably not going to get the respect and attention that is deserves because it is not the three points. Had it been the three points people would have taken more notice. But we know we are a good football team, we know we are doing the right things and we know we belong further up the table.”
While Ange Postecoglu said,
“It was a tough game obviously, but you’ve just got to love the boys’ spirit, it was an easy one for us to maybe lay down a little bit, it was a pretty physical game and we’ve had a hard slog recently.”
To be honest, even if the Brisbane goal was offside, which is debatable, the Jets still only have themselves to blame. Chances were created, mainly by the outstanding Jeffers and Wehrman (who got my Man of the Match award), however they weren’t converted.
This has been the story of our season so far, especially early on, where we just can’t seem to find the back of the net. It’s a joke and needs to be addressed, but the positive from this match was the fact that numerous chances have been made and against the best side in the A-League as well.
While it is disappointing that the team haven’t produced the goods in front of goal, opportunities created is definitely encouraging and is a massive improvement from a few weeks ago against the likes of Sydney and Melbourne Heart.
I’d also like to question Branko’s ambition and tactics, as he brought on the ineffective Haliti for the brilliant Jeffers. It is obvious the lad has no tactical awareness. His positioning was poor, he couldn’t even hold the ball up and when he did get a half-chance he put the ball wide. Why on earth, with Petrovski and Patafta on the bench didn’t he make more subs? By the last ten minutes Abbas was largely missing and out of the game, while putting on Patafta for D’Apuzzo and leaving Kantarovski in defence, could have allowed more creativity in the final third. Also, why a tactically aware player such as Petrovski was overlooked for a blundering oaf such as Haliti is a mystery to me. Contrast Branko’s decisions to Old Ange introducing goalscorer Solorzano from the bench…
Anyway, lets get off the negatives and stick to the positive fact that we have shown we can compete with the best sides in the A-League (having one, drawn and lost to Adelaide and having secured three draws against Brisbane), so the future of the season looks bright.
If Jeffers stays injury free and Bridges can make a successful return from injury then making the Finals should not be a problem. Jesic also looked great alongside Jeffers and it appears the guest player’s presence has had a positive impact on his play. He was making some great runs and creating space for his fellow teammates throughout the game.
In bad news however, both Zadkovich and Milicevic have picked up their 5th yellow cards of the season, meaning that they’ll miss the visit of Wellington on Saturday. Hopefully the team can lift for their 3rd game in a week against an out-of-sorts Phoenix side.
And quickly to the Melbourne Victory v. central coast match which finished 2-2. Melbourne apparently dominated the game and really should have won, yet surrendered a 2-1 lead to finish the tie level.
Archie Thompson made his first appearance with Robbie Kruse up front for Victory after his return from injury, and he had two good chances to put his team ahead.
Perhaps that match sharpness is still missing after 8 months out and both opportunities went begging.
Against the run of play the mariners took the lead through Danny McBreen, as the big striker brilliantly took down a Alex Wilkinson long ball and finished emphatically.
Two goals inside three second half minutes saw the Victory take the lead, the first coming from an Adrian Leijer header or perhaps Vargas, who appeared to help the ball into the net.
Soon after some Hernandez magic saw his brilliant free kick put the Victory ahead in the 64th minute and it looked likely that the Melbourne outfit would hold out for the win.
However after poor defending from a corner, a scrappy encounter occurred in the box, ending with Grant Brebner attempting to clear but only succeeding in hitting the ball into Keeper Petkovic’s foot and into the net
The Victory definitely had the chances to win the game, with Thompson particularly wasteful and they will feel aggrieved to have dropped two points at home…