Jets Youth draw in Sydney
The Newcastle Jets Youth and Sydney FC played out a hard-fought 1-1 draw at WIN Jubilee stadium in Sydney.
Sydney FC's erratic mid-season form in the National Youth League has continued with the Sky Blues needing a late goal to earn a share of the points against Newcastle Jets in a hard-fought 1-1 draw at WIN Jubilee stadium in Sydney.
Goals at either end of the contest provided the narrative to this contest with Marko Jesic putting Newcastle ahead after just six minutes for a lead they held until Mitchell Mallia's equaliser three minutes from the end.
A win would have catapulted the Jets over their rivals, who held down fourth going into the contest.
Jesic set up Newcastle for a bright start to the match with a goal conjured when there appeared to be little danger to the Sky Blues goal.
The A-League regular received the ball on the edge of the penalty area with his back to goal, only to turn and curl a perfect strike into the top corner.
Sydney clearly missed the influential pair of Joel Chianese and Nathan Sherlock who had been promoted to the senior team for Sunday's Hyundai A-League match against the Jets at the Sydney Football Stadium.
The home side failed to get near their opponents goal until midway through the first half when Mallia was denied by some adroit defending as he was about to pull the trigger.
The match was played at a good tempo in reasonably warm conditions in southern Sydney, but goalmouth action proved to be scarce in the first half.
Newcastle's Kale Bradbery had goalkeeper Ryan Norval forced into a sprawling save in the shadows of half-time, with the visitors in the ascendency at the interval.
Just two minutes into the second period, the home side achieved what they had failed to do throughout the entire first 45 minutes.
Mallia produced a rasping drive from 25 metres which had goalkeeper Jack Duncan at full stretch to produce a quality save.
The Jets then twice came close to extending their lead as the visiting side started to assert themselves.
Firstly, Jacob Pepper fired over from an acute angle after a smart dribble into the penalty area, and then Dino Fajkovic forced Norval to tip his shot onto the roof of the net.
Sydney seemed certain to finally get on the scoresheet midway through the half, but while Mallia's effort squeezed past the onrushing Duncan, Samuel Galloway tracked back to prevent the ball entering the net.
It was a similar scenario at the other end as Fajkovic lifted the ball over the advancing Norval only to push his follow up header onto the crossbar and over.
Sydney finally made the breakthrough from a familiar source as skipper Blake Powell fed Mallia who finished easily past the exposed Duncan to ensure the points were shared.
Sydney FC 1 (Mitchell Mallia 87) Newcastle Jets 1 (Marko Jesic 6)