Approximately 400 Armidale football fans braved chilly conditions at Consett Davis Fields at the University of New England on Friday evening to see the Newcastle Jets play an intra-club training match.‘Jets A’ prevailed 1-0 over ‘Jets B’ in the modified 60 minute contest played over three 20 minute thirds.
The dangerous Labinot Haliti scored the only goal of the game in the 29th minute, though the livewire attacker – who played in a number of positions across the front third on Friday – may well have scored more on the night.
Jets A took to the field in a four-two-three-one formation with Ben Kennedy starting in goal, Lee Ki-je, Nigel Boogaard, Daniel Mullen, and Jason Hoffman starting across the back four, Mateo Poljak and Cameron Watson holding the midfield, and David Carney, Brandon Lundy, Mitch Cooper and Haliti providing the team’s attacking thrust.
Jets B commenced with Mark Birighitti between the sticks, Reece Papas at left back, Themba Muata-Marlow and Lachlan Jackson in central defence, and Nick Cowburn at right back. In midfield were brothers Ben and Michael Kantarovski, while the attack featured Ryan de Vries, Radovan Pavicevic, Josh Barresi, and East Armidale attacker Hoani Morell.
The first opportunity of the encounter came in the sixth minute when Jets B winger Pavicevic swung a cross into the box for local ace Morell. Morell rose to head towards goal, but couldn’t generate enough power in his effort to beat Kennedy.
Jets A’s first chance of the match came midway through the first period when Haliti struck a fierce left foot shot at Birighitti, only to see his shot acrobatically tipped away for a corner.
Kennedy and Birighitti swapped teams for the start of the second period, and it was the former who was the busier of the custodians in the second stanza.
Kennedy did well to palm away an impressive Poljak drive in the 22nd minute, before Haliti scored the game’s only goal seven minutes later. After winning possession in the box, Haliti curled a precise shot into the back of the net.
The final period of the game was devoid of many clear-cut goalscoring opportunities, though youngster Andrew Pawiak did impress in the Jets A midfield in place of Poljak, while Armidale players Cody Watts, Callan MacGregor, Declan Druitt and Navid Aminian, like Morell before them, got the chance to pit their wits against and with Hyundai A-League pros.
Newcastle Jets ‘A’ 1 (Haliti 29’)
Newcastle Jets ‘B’ 0
Consett Davis Fields, Sport UNE, Armidale