Jets draw with Sydney FC

The Newcastle Jets drew 1-1 with Sydney FC in their pre-season friendly at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday afternoon.

The Newcastle Jets drew 1-1 with Sydney FC in their pre-season friendly at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday afternoon.

The Jets adjusted their shape for the clash, playing with a back three of Scott Neville, Josh Mitchell and Dominik Ritter. This allowed Craig Goodwin to play on the left side of a diamond midfield featuring Jobe Wheelhouse, Ruben Zadkovich and Ben Kantarovski.

Sydney started the stronger of the two teams with Paul Reid and Ali Abbas both getting shots on target which were easily dealt with by Jets shot-stopper Mark Birighitti.

The Jets responded through Wheelhouse who sent a warning shot with a 25-metre volley that sailed over the crossbar.

As the Jets began to do a better job of keeping possession, they were able to fashion a couple of goal scoring opportunities.

Firstly Zadkovich flashed a first-time effort with his left foot wide of the post, before Griffiths headed over the bar under pressure from the Sydney defence.

It wasn-t long though before the Jets found the breakthrough. After Marko Jesic was brought down on the edge of the area, Zadkovich stepped up to expertly dip a free-kick over the wall and into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead after 30 minutes.

With their tails up, the Jets almost made it 2-0 a short time later when Goodwin found himself in a goal scoring position.

Scott Neville worked his way into the box before the ball fell to Goodwin who was unable to get his shot on target under pressure from the Sydney defence.

Goodwin, relishing the opportunity to play further up the park, was a constant threat to the Sydney defence. Minutes before half-time, the 20-year-old forced a turnover before squaring the ball to Jesic who has his shot blocked.

The ball fell to Virgili but his follow-up effort was also blocked and the score remained 1-0 at the end of the first 45.

The Jets carried their momentum into the second half and were on the attack early as Sydney were forced to clear a goalmouth scramble.

A short time later, Virgili picked out Goodwin with a cross the to back post, but he was only able to steer the ball into the upright from a tight angle.

Not to be outdone, the Sky Blues had a golden opportunity to draw level minutes later when Mitch Mallia-s cross to the back post picked out Christopher Naumoff whose first time shot was desperately cleared off the line by Josh Mitchell.

However, from the ensuing corner Sydney managed to get back on level terms with Mallia heading home at the back post.

As the match wound to a close, half-time substitute Bernardo Ribeiro began to find more space and time on the ball.

The Brazilian almost put the Jets back in front when he was put through on goal by a lovely lob pass from Ryan Griffiths, but he hit his shot straight at Sydney FC goalkeeper Ivan Necevski.

Ribeiro tested Necevski again with a long range shot from 30 metres out, but Necevski was up to the task, tipping the ball over the crossbar to ensure the match finished 1-1.

Newcastle Jets 1 (Zadkovich 30-) Sydney FC 1 (Mallia 61-)

Newcastle Jets: 20. Mark Birighitti (1. Ben Kennedy ‘46), 2. Dominik Ritter (13. Sam Gallaway ‘61), 4. Joshua Mitchell (3. Taylor Regan ‘75), 5. Craig Goodwin, 6. Ben Kantarovski (Jacob Pepper ‘46), 7. Marko Jesic (10. Bernardo Ribeiro ‘46), 8. Ruben Zadkovich, 9. Ryan Griffiths (19. Michael Bridges ‘75), 11. James Virgili, 15. Scott Neville (12. Joshua Brilliante ;75), 16. Jobe Wheelhouse (c) (24. Mitchell Oxborrow ‘75)

Sydney FC: 1. Ivan Necevski, 2. Sebastian Ryall (5. Nathan Sherlock ‘61), 3. Fabio (16. Tom Slater ‘61), 11. Dimi Petratos, 12. Blake Powell (6. Chris Naumoff ‘46), 14. Mitch Mallia (17. Nick Taneski ‘68), 15. Terry McFlynn (c) (24. Zac Nicholas ‘68), 18. Trent McClenahan, 21. Paul Reid (7. Brett Emerton ‘61), 22. Ali Abbas, 23. Rhyan Grant. Sub not used: 20. Vedran Janjetovic.