The Newcastle Jets put in a brave performance to secure a 1-1 draw with Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.
The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets put in a brave performance to secure a 1-1 draw with Wellington Phoenix at Westpac Stadium on Sunday.
A 73rd minute equaliser from Emile Heskey ensured Newcastle came from behind to snare a vital point that elevated them into fifth place on the A-League ladder.
The Jets had an opportunity to open the scoring in the fourth minute after James Brown was brought down 25 metres from the Wellington goal.
Brown shook himself off and hit a dipping free-kick over the Phoenix wall that looked destined for the top corner, only for Mark Paston to intervene with a diving one-handed save.
Just three minutes later, Brown was in the action again, when his pressure forced a Phoenix turnover.
Craig Goodwin pounced on the loose ball and headed directly towards the Wellington goal. However, his low-drive with the left foot slid across across the face and the chance went begging.
Wellington had their first chance of the match when Jeremy Brockie managed to get in behind the Jets defence in the 17th minute.
With Brockie bearing down on goal, Jets shot-stopper Mark Birighitti stood tall and managed to deflect the Kiwi international-s strike behind for a corner.
However, there was little Birighitti could have done to prevent Louis Fenton putting the Phoenix ahead in the 21st minute.
Paul Ifill-s ball to the back post picked out the run of Dani Sanchez who managed to deflect the ball back across the face of goal, into the path of Brockie who finished from close range.
The Jets could have been back on level terms in the 30th minute, with relentless pressure from Emile Heskey forcing a turnover by Paston.
The ball found its way out to Brown who with the Wellington keeper off his line, decided to try his luck from 30 metres out, but unfortunately was unable to find the target.
The Jets had not won in Wellington since 2007 and their task was made all the more difficult early in the second half when Gallaway received his marching orders after picking up a second yellow card.
Despite being a player down, the Jets were steadfast in defence, with Birighitti only called into action to make a regulation save following a Brockie free-kick
However, it was the Jets who nearly scored from a free-kick when Brown got his shot up and over the wall, only for it to go agonisingly wide.
After playing with a one-man advantage for most of the second half, Wellington were also reduced to 10 men after Tony Lochhead received his second yellow card in the 72nd minute.
Ryan Griffiths hit the ensuing free-kick to the back post where it was headed back into the six-yard box by Connor Chapman. Emile Heskey showed superb athleticism to out leap Paston and head the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-1.
Despite both teams searching desperately for victory, neither side was able to break the deadlock and the points were shared.
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Fenton 21-) Newcastle Jets 1 (Heskey 73-)