Newcastle Jets suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat at home to Brisbane Roar on Friday, the men from the Hunter conceding on one of the last plays of the game to be edged by the side from Suncorp Stadium.
Jean Carlos Solórzano gave Frans Thijssen’s Roar outfit the lead in the 36th minute of play, however young Jets substitute Radovan Pavicevic restored parity to the contest in the 72nd minute when he poked the ball into the back of the net.
But deep into time added on at the end of the second stanza Newcastle’s hopes of claiming a point from the Hyundai A-League round 16 clash were dashed when German ace Thomas Broich sent a low free kick into the area which skimmed off the foot of Allan Welsh and beyond Jets custodian Ben Kennedy.
While Kennedy was beaten twice on the night, he also wasn’t without his fair share of impressive moments throughout the game. Indeed, Kennedy showed his class in the second half to twice deny pacey Roar attacker Brandon Borrello, and keep Brisbane’s midfield schemer Luke Brattan at bay.
For the Jets, the match could have ended more favourably had Edson Montano’s second minute header not crashed against the crossbar, or Michael Theo twice not produced strong saves to thwart sound efforts from Mitch Cooper.
Nevertheless, the Jets will reflect on two moments of relatively sloppy defending from set-piece situations as the key reason that the mid-season match-up against Roar ended with the three Hyundai A-League competition points heading north of the border.
Despite the loss Newcastle Jets Head Coach Phil Stubbins remained positive post-match, noting that he believes the performance was a substantial improvement on recent weeks.
“I think from last week’s performance into this one there was a massive improvement there,” Stubbins said. “I think the boys to a man put in a solid shift, got some pride back … and we were very, very unfortunate to lose it in the way that we did.”
“We had a few chances, there were some good saves from [Michael] Theo.”
“When we scored that goal to equalise from young Radovan [Pavicevic] we perhaps looked like we could go on with it, and that’s a something that’s a real boost for us. It’s a good platform.”
“I think in terms of the team moving forward it was a positive step forward for us. I think we had maybe one of the youngest squads out there in [Hyundai] A-League history tonight, so I am very proud of the boys and their efforts.”
Stubbins said there was a key focus on defence leading into the contest.
“We had a focus this week surrounding defensive accountability and the guys really bought into that,” he said. “We made ourselves very difficult to beat.”
“Defensively we were pretty sound and structured throughout.”
“The boys are gutted, they put in a very solid shift. But I think we’ve worked all this week to get some pride back in the shirt, and the staff, the playing group, and everyone on board who has gone through the last few weeks deserves a pat on the back,” Stubbins said.
Brisbane Roar 2 (Solórzano 36’, Broich 90+3’)
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Referee: Chris Beath
eVent Cinemas Performance of the Week: Andrew Hoole
Newcastle Jets: 2. Scott NEVILLE (18. Allan WELSH 90+2’), 3. Taylor REGAN (C), 5. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 8. Zenon CARAVELLA, 11. Andrew HOOLE (21. Lee KI-JE 89’), 12. Sam GALLAGHER, 13. Edson MONTANO, 16. Jacob PEPPER, 19. Mitch COOPER (27. Radovan PAVICEVIC 55’), 20. Ben KENNEDY (Gk), 21. Daniel MULLEN
Substitutes not used: 1. Jess VANSTRATTAN, 10. Travis COOPER
Yellow cards: Neville, Kantarovski, Hoole, Pavicevic
Red cards: Nil