Jets Hearts Broken

A vocal crowd welcomed the Newcastle Jets to Energy Australia Stadium for their first home match of the season against the Melbourne Heart on Friday night.

A vocal crowd welcomed the Newcastle Jets to Energy Australia Stadium for their first home match of the season against the Melbourne Heart on Friday night. Playing in their traditional gold jersey and navy blue shorts, the Newcastle Jets put on a dominant first half display and were unfortunate not to go into the break with a two or three goal lead.

The Newcastle Jets sized up their opposition early playing a patient possession game. In the seventh minute, the Newcastle Jets first opportunity fell to Marko Jesic whose shot was saved a by a sprawled Clint Bolton. Ali Abbas followed through and almost scored off the rebound but a brave Bolton kept the scores level.

The eleventh minute saw the Melbourne Heart produce their first shot of the match when a Gerald Sibon free kick was well caught by a confident Ben Kennedy. The Jets had another scare two minutes later when Alex Terra ran at a stunmbling Ruben Zadkovich who recovered well enough to conceded a corner. It was a positive period for the Heart who had another opportunity in the 15th minute when Nicholas Kalmar crossed a ball which was headed over the bar by Gerald Sibon.

In the 16th minute, the Jets began a period of domination when new recruit, Jeremy Brockie, held the ball up on the Heart byline and played the ball back to an arriving Michael Bridges whose shot was pushed around the bar by a diving Clint Bolton.

In the 17th minute, the Melbourne Heart-s Marquee player succumb to a hamstring injury and was replaced by Wayne Shroj. Before the heart could make the change a great through ball by Jeremy Brockie saw a flying Marko Jesic break through for a one on one opportunity which Bolton nnarrowly saved with his foot.

In the 22nd minute, another quality ball, this time by Ali Abbas, gave Jeremy Brockie face to face with Clint Bolton. Again, the Newcastle Jets failed to capitalize and the score remained nil all. In the 26th minute, a Kantarovski free kick was well directed into the Heart six yard box with Michael Bridges out jumping the Heart defence only to head over the bar.

Despite the Jets dominance, a great turn by Alex Terra had the Jets scrambling with a loose ball falling to Gerald Sibon whose shot went well wide. The 39th minute saw another dangerous run by Alex Terra, who was obstructed by Ljubo Milicevic. The resulting free kick was taken by Dean Heffernan and was met by a rising Nicholas Kalmar who forced a great reflex save by Ben Kennedy who pushed the ball over his cross bar.

In the 45th minute, another positive run by Ali Abbas was deemed to be offside by the linesman. The referee then booked Abbas after he kicked the ball after the whistle and the Jets had their first yellow card of the match. The booking was the only real negative to come out of a dominant first half display and the referee then blew for half time with the scores locked at nil all.

The most controversial moment of the match came in the 50th minute when Michael Bridges ran on to a ball in the box and looked to be fouled by the Heart defence. Despite the calls for a penalty, the referee awarded a free kick against Michael Bridges and then showed him a yellow card for simulation.

Despite the controversy, Newcastle continued its gallant attack and was finally rewarded in the 60th minute when Ben Kantarovski played a ball to Jeremy Brockie on the right hand side. Brockie took on his defender with an inside cut which was followed by a low left foot shot. Clint Bolton dove to his right and managed to get a hand on the ball but it had enough power to beat the keeper. Brockie immediately ran towards the Newcastle Jets squadron supporters who immediately took him into their hearts.

The 71st minute saw another strong run through the centre of midfield by Ben Kantarovski, who once again linked up with Jeremy Brockie. He then attempted to play the ball back to Kantarovski, but the young midfielder checked his run and the attack broke down.

In the 81st minute, a cruel twist of fate saw the Melbourne Heart receive an undeserved equalizer. A ball by Worm released Marrone who was tackled by Zadkovich. The ball fell to Ben Kantarovski, who attempted to hastily clear the ball but his misguided clearance saw the ball float over keeper, Ben Kennedy and into the back of the Newcastle net.

The Newcastle Jets did not relent and Kantarovski almost made up for his home goal in the 89th minute but his resulting shot was off target and went out for a goal kick. The Jets almost stole it back in injury time when a speculative ball by Ruben Zadkovich was well headed into Marko Jesic-s path but a poor first touch denied the Jets a final opportunity.

In the post match press conference, Newcastle Jets head coach, Branko Culina was disappointed with the controversial penalty decision and when asked if that was two points lost he state “yes, but that-s football for you, down the track we will pick up two points we may not deserve but I was delighted with the players performance, I thought some of the football we played in that first half was outstanding. We created opportunities, but we are still a work in progress but we are getting there but unfortunately the 3 points went missing but we are pleased with the way we are travelling.”

Captain Michael Bridges stated “the front four created enough chances in the first half to blow them out of the park. From a personal point of view, we only have ourselves to blame. We had the game tied up and you have to take the positives out of the first half.

The Newcastle Jets will be disappointed with the result but the team showed enough to indicate that Energy Australia Stadium is going to be a difficult place for away teams to travel to and the healthy crowd of 8735 should be confident that this team will be a force in this seasons A-league.