Newcastle v. central coast – (1-1)
The Jets grabbed a last minute goal in the F3 derby as a promising first half performance couldn’t inspire the team to a third victory in four games.
After drawing against leaders Brisbane Roar and winning games against Adelaide and Wellington expectations were high for the Newcastle side.
Topor-Stanley shook off a troublesome knee injury to make the starting line-up, which also welcomed the return of Ruben Zadkovich and Ljubo Milicevic after suspension prevented their appearance against the Phoenix.
Newcastle started well with Frannie Jeffers once again the centre of all their attacking play, the English forward shooting wide with his left foot after through ball from Jesic early on.
Jesic himself then had an opportunity with a long range shot saved by Matt Ryan, while Jeffers saw a speculative half-volley go narrowly over.
Josh Rose had a decent opportunity at the other end after suspect defending from the Jets, yet he hit his shot into the side netting.
Jeffers had to leave the field due to injury on the half hour mark, with Labinot Haliti entering play to partner Jesic up front and in truth it affected our play massively with the rest of our chances coming from set pieces.
Ljubo had a header poked off the goal line by Trent Sainsbury, while Ali Abbas drew a magnificent save from Ryan, after hitting a 30-yard shot following a clearance from a corner.
Ljubo joined Jeffers on the sidelines after suffering an ankle injury just before halftime, with Kantarovski pushing back into defence and Jobe Wheelhouse coming into midfield.
Matt Simon pounced on poor defending from the Jets to fire past Ben Kennedy for the opener just after halftime. Ben Kanatarovski at fault having failed to clear the ball a total of three times, before Simon drifted away from a static Topor-Stanley to fire home.
It looked like it would prove the winner, with the rest of the second half a largely tame affair with few chances for either side. Wheelhouse drew a double save out of Matt Ryan but apart from that there was not much action.
However a Rory Delap inspired throw-in from Topor caused havoc in the box, Kantarovski heading the ball on before Sasho Petrovski poked the ball home with a looped effort into the far corner.
There was time for more late drama however, the Jets almost throwing the point away with some nervous defending allowing McKay or some other guy to shoot from long range, yet BK made a great save with his legs when he must have seen the ball very late.
So a good result taking into account the lateness of the goal, but really our poor finishing in front of goal once again let us down. While Ryan made some decent saves, Ljubo and Jeffers should have had us in front by half time. The loss of both those players also had a major impact on the way we played, with Kantarovski wasted in my opinion back in defence, while Haliti just isn’t that good. I would have preferred to have seen Regan come on for Ljubo and Petrovski for Jeffers. Regan has shown he can handle the pressures of the A-League and I’m disappointed he wasn’t given a chance, while Petrovski might be old but at least he has the skill to hold the ball up and bring players into the game. Haliti in my opinion just doesn’t understand how to play and is fairly one-dimensional. Though that said he had a decent 15 minutes in the first half.
So now we have the Galaxy game, which to be honest is an unwelcome distraction to our season. We have a good run of results building up and the last thing we need is for our players to get injured in a pointless games. Yes, it’s great for the community and the importance in building a fan base cannot be denied, yet with Kennedy, Jeffers, Milicevic, Bridges all out I just can’t imagine what we would do with more injury problems. Ah well I’m still going to the match and it should hopefully fire up some of the Newcastle public into attending A-League games.
Wellington Phoenix v. Melbourne Heart – (2-0)
Both sides had their chances in a first half, with Paul Ifill seeing his shot saved by Clint Bolton’s head, while Alex Terra blasted a one-on-one opportunity over the bar after a brilliant through ball from Zaara.
The Brazilian again missed a decent chance after the break, Paston making a nice save with his left hand.
Ifill scored his first in the 62nd minute after some a little luck in the build-up play, the Barbados striker scoring his first goal since Round 6.
If the first goal was lucky and involved team play, the second was all class and individually inspired from Paul Ifill. The top scorer of last season finding his goalscoring boots with a great left-foot shot in the 73rd minute.
Matt Thompson had earlier been shown 2 yellow cards within 13 second half minutes to leave the Heart with a mountain to climb.
The loss is Heart’s third in a row, though to be fair it comes against the top two sides and a team that is known for being strong at home. Wellington meanwhile, will be happy to see star man Ifill back to doing what he does best.
Brisbane Roar v. Perth Glory – (3-2)
Perth’s Naum Sekulovski went off as early as the 13th minute, and the Glory were under the pump from a rampant Brisbane side who were returning home for the second time in 7 matches.
Thomas Broich was in a good mood, shooting narrowly high of the corner netting in the 31st minute.
Solorzano then opened the scoring after showing good strength and balance to ride a challenge, before slotting past Velaphi 5 minutes before half time.
Matt Smith doubled the Roar’s lead on 57 minutes with a header from a perfect Broich corner.
Robbie Fowler entered the play on 64 minutes with Adriano Pellegrino, his side 2-0 down. The Englishman stepped up to score a penalty with his first touch after Luke DeVere had handballed in the box.
Scott Neville then made a stupid challenge on Solorzano in the box and couldn’t complain with the resulting red card, the Costa Rican striker stepping up to the spot to take his side back into a 2-goal lead.
Ian Ferguson’s second substitute, Adriano Pellegrino, then scored an absolute belter out of nowhere in the 87th minute to set the game up for a tense finish.
Yet in truth Brisbane always looked comfortable and the Glory had another player sent off in Josh Mitchell late in injury time further highlighting their worries with injuries and suspensions for next week.