Jets toppled on the Gold Coast

A brave Newcastle Jets outfit has been defeated 2-0 this evening against Gold Coast United at Skilled Park.

A brave Newcastle Jets outfit has been defeated 2-0 this evening against Gold Coast United at Skilled Park.

After claiming a stoic win over Melbourne Victory with only ten men in the heat last Sunday, the Novocastrians were unable to replicate their heroics despite a resolute second half performance. Goals in the opening period by United-s marquee player Jason Culina and youngster James Brown were enough to see the home side keep all three competition points in Queensland.

Indeed, Gold Coast began brightly and nearly took the lead in the 20th minute when Shane Smeltz played in midfielder Charlie Miller who chipped on-rushing goalkeeper Neil Young, only to see his strike cleared off the line by a desperate Nikolai Topor-Stanley.

Twelve minutes before the main break and the home side would go one goal up thanks to Qantas Socceroo Culina scoring direct from a free-kick from a wide position on the left. Replays suggested that referee Chris Beath had awarded the free-kick after some relatively soft contact between Jin-Hyung Song and Brazilian left-back Anderson.

On 38 minutes the Jets would concede a second when livewire Brown played a neat one-two with Culina, and the Australian youth international made no mistake from 12-yards when one-on-one with Young to double United-s advantage.

The Jets needed to dig deep to find a reply to the early onslaught, and they almost did with time winding down in the first half. A Song free-kick was met by the head of striker Michael Bridges, with the former English Premier League star nodding his effort just wide of the target.

Head Coach Branko Culina looked to his bench to spark his side in the second stanza, bringing on experienced frontman Sasho Petrovski for Bridges, and replacing Young, who received a nasty knock to his nose earlier but valiantly played out the half.

It was an undeniably improved performance by the boys from the Hunter in the second half with tireless central midfielder Jobe Wheelhouse going inches wide of pulling a goal back when he powerfully headed a Song free-kick from just 7-yards out.

Jets- boss Culina then made his final change, bringing on athletic Qantas Young Socceroo Jason Hoffman in a final attempt to salvage a result from the game.

It wasn-t to be for the visitors though, as they continued to dominate possession but were unable to snare a way back into the contest. Skipper Matt Thompson went desperately close to claiming a salvo three times in the final seven minutes of match, but he was ultimately denied by some last ditch defending by a resolute Gold Coast backline.

After the match, coach Culina explained that the heavy schedule had taken a toll on the players but was pleased with the positive aspects that came out of the second half this evening.

“We certainly did it tough on the weekend with ten men in difficult conditions, but we really had a slow start and then we conceded two very soft goals. After that it was always going to be an uphill battle.”

“We had a couple of chances in the second half, with a bit more composure we could have probably got one or two back and it could have been interesting. It wasn-t to be and we-ve got to move on,” he said.

The Jets will remain in Queensland for the remainder of the week as the team prepares to take on Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium this Saturday, 16 January.

Match Details: Gold Coast United: 1.Jess VANSTRATTAN (gk), 3.Michael THWAITE, 7.Zenon CARAVELLA, 9.Shane SMELTZ, 10.Jason CULINA (c) (17.Matt OSMAN 81-), 13.Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 16.Kristian REES, 18.James BROWN (15.Tahj MINNIECON 63-), 24.ANDERSON, 34.Charlie MILLER (14.Joel PORTER 46-), 36.Dino DJULBIC

Unused substitutes: 20.Scott HIGGINS (gk)

Yellow cards: Anderson 36-

Red cards: Nil

Newcastle Jets Squad: 20. Neil YOUNG (gk) (1. Ben KENNEDY (gk) 46-), 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 7. Jin-Hyung SONG, 8. Matt THOMPSON (c), 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 14. Michael BRIDGES (9. Sasho PETROVSKI 46-), 25. Labinot HALITI (16. Jason HOFFMAN 76-), 26. Ali ABBAS

Unused substitutes: 2. Angelo COSTANZO

Yellow cards: Abbas 57-

Red cards: Nil

Gold Coast United: 2 (Culina 33-, Brown 38-) Newcastle Jets: 0 Referee: Chris Beath Crowd: 4,853