The Newcastle Jets have gone top of the Hyundai A-League following a gritty, come-from-behind win over Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.
It wasn’t an ideal start from the Jets, who had limited possession in the opening 15 minutes, as the home side came out of the blocks strongly.
With a point to prove off the back of two straight losses, the FFA Cup finalists had all the running early as George Blackwood and Nikola Mileusnic ran riot up front.
The Jets continued to absorb the Reds attacking raids, as they camped down in the visitors defensive third for the first quarter of the match.
After some crucial saves by Jack Duncan early on and tireless work form the Jets backmen, Adelaide finally had their goal through Nikola Mileusnic in the 24th minute.
The deficit soon sparked the Jets into action as they approached the half time break, taking control of possession and enjoying some more favourable territory – creating a number of chances to draw level.
It would be Ben Kantarovski who would find the back of the net before the break, after some clever work at the set piece from O’Donovan and Petratos.
In what felt like the blink of an eye, the Jets were in front as Andrew Nabbout pounced on a defensive error from Adelaide in the 47th minute, beating Paul Izzo and taking the lead.
The blistering start to the second stanza continued and the Jets should have had a third – as Roy O’Donovan showed fans that he is human – missing an open goal after some wonderful lead up play from Andrew Nabbout.
As the second half progressed, and with the home side on suddenly on the back foot, they began to throw everything forward in search of a result. But the Jets defence was able to keep the visitors at bay – and away from goal – for extended periods.
The win is the third consecutive away win for the Jets, a feat achieved for the first time in the club’s history.
From the coach:
“I wouldn’t call it a great victory, it was a pretty average performance really. We knew Adelaide would come at us, it’s their home ground, with a good crowd and they’d want the three points at home – for the first half an hour we were chasing our tails, we just couldn’t keep the ball.
“We made some changes to the midfield and re-organised it at half time, the last 10 minutes of the first half we were much better and we did well in the second half.
“At the end we just had to hang on, Adelaide did what they had to do and sent numbers forward – it wasn’t a great game of football but it’s probably better winning ugly than losing pretty.”
1’ | 0 – 0 | After a stirring Ode and Last Post, we’re underway in Adelaide for this #remembranceround clash #ADLvNEW
3’ | 0 – 0 | CHANCE! Bravo, Jack Duncan! Our custodian makes a crucial save as Blackwood pushed on goal #ADLvNEW
10’ | 0 – 0 | CHANCE! Blackwood gets into space, but his shot sails over the crossbar #ADLvNEW
23’ | 0 – 1 | GOAL! Adelaide are off the mark as Mileusnic gets clear and makes no mistake with this chance #ADLvNEW
37’ | 0 – 1 | CHANCE! Again, short passing from the Jets creating opportunities in attack. A tidy back heel from Nabbout releases Hoffman who fires in another dangerous cross – O’Donovan going close #ADLvNEW
44’ | 0 – 1 | CHANCE! O’Donovan goes close as Izzo makes a second crucial save in as many minutes #ADLvNEW
45’ | 1 – 1 | GOAL! Ben Kantarovski makes it two for season 2017/18 #ADLvNEW
47’ | 2 – 1 | GOOOAAAL! Nabbout gives the Jets the lead! #ADLvNEW
52’ | 2 – 1 | Nabbout off to flyer in this second half, as Roy puts it wide with an open goal! #ADLvNEW
55’ | 2 – 1 | CHANCE! Petratos approaches the top of the 18-yard, sums up the situation and lays it off to a flying Nabbout – who doesn’t strike it as he would like #ADLvNEW
68’ | 2 – 1 | CHANCE! Matmour fires one on goal, but his shot sails wide #ADLvNEW
84’ | 2 – 1 | The Reds earn a free kick in dangerous territory, Adlung with a chance outside the 18-yard – his shot sails over the crossbar #ADLvNEW
90’+2’ | 2 – 1 | Hoffman sees yellow after a tough challenge just outside the 18-yard, big set piece here as Isaias hits the wall #ADLvNEW
90’+5’ | 2 – 1 | CHANCE! Garuccio with the cross as Diawara’s header sails over the crossbar #ADLvNEW
Ground: Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Referee: Jarred Gillett
Newcastle Jets: 1.Jack DUNCAN (gk), 3.Jason HOFFMAN, 4.Nigel BOOGAARD, 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 6.Steven UGARKOVIC, 7.Dimitri PETRATOS, 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 10.Wayne BROWN, 13.Ivan VUJICA, 15.Andrew NABBOUT, 44.Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY
Subs: 12.Mario SHABOW, 16.Nick COWBURN, 18.Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, 24.Joe CHAMPNESS, 30.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk)
Subs Not Used: 12.Mario SHABOW, 30.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk)
Yellow Cards: Ben KANTAROVSKI (8’), Roy O’DONOVAN (76’) Nigel BOOGAARD (78’), Jason HOFFMAN (90’+2)
Goals: Ben KANTAROVSKI (45’), Andrew NABBOUT (47’)
Adelaide United: 2.Michael MARRONE, 4.Ben WARLAND, 7.Ryan KITTO, 8.ISAÍAS (c), 14.George BLACKWOOD, 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 17.Nikola MILEUSNIC, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 23.Jordan ELSEY, 37.Daniel ADLUNG
Subs: 1.Daniel MARGUSH (gk), 9.Baba DIAWARA, 10.Karim MATMOUR, 12.Mark OCHIENG, 29.Ryan STRAIN
Subs Not Used: 1.Daniel MARGUSH (gk), 29.Ryan STRAIN
Yellow Cards: George BLACKWOOD (35’), 9.Baba DIAWARA (73’), 10.Karim MATMOUR (90’+1)
Goals: 17.Nikola MILEUSNIC (24’)