The first hit-out of the pre-season ended in a slim victory for the Newcastle Jets on Saturday afternoon, with a battle-hardened Edgeworth Eagles proving a challenge.
Glen Moss and Nigel Boogaard didn’t feature on the team sheet – Moss carrying a slight foot injury, Boogaard being returned slowly to match fitness.
Another veteran of the side, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, started on the bench as Ben Kantarovski and Lachlan Jackson marshalled the defence in front of goalkeeper, Noah James.
With the majority of the play early, the Jets had a few half-chances as Matt Millar and Nick Fitzgerald did their best to make inroads down the right-hand side.
The right-back, Millar, was getting forward with some regularity and combining with the likes of Fitzgerald, Dimi Petratos, and Steven Ugarkovic but none could find the net.
Following a drinks break at the 20-minute mark, Newcastle did open the scoring in unusual fashion – a Dimi Petratos corner burrowed its way through a crowd of feet and into the back of the net with 27 minutes played.
Edgeworth bounded up the other end and almost found an equaliser immediately – Aden Gardner had consecutive shots blocked by the legs of Johnny Koutroumbis, before it fell out to a charging Liam Spurway. His shot was wide.
Minutes later, the Eagles must have thought they’d scored when Oliver Smith curled a delightful shot at Noah James from the edge of the area – but the young custodian dove at full stretch to tip it onto the post, and the Jets defence cleared.
A change at the break saw young Keegan Hughes come onto the pitch, making his first-team debut as Noah James departed.
Chances continued to arise for the Jets, with Dimi Petratos just not able to reach a ball shortly into the half.
Angus Thurgate, who came on at the 50-minute mark for Jason Hoffman, found a potential header in a good area just out of his reach just after coming onto the pitch.
The changes came thick and fast for the Jets from then on, with Pat Langlois, Kosta Petratos, and Nikolai Topor-Stanley all coming onto the park in place of Matt Ridenton, Kaine Sheppard, and Johnny Koutroumbis respectively.
Hughes was called into action with 64 minutes gone in the shortened 80 minutes, when Oliver Smith set off down the left-hand side. His shot was toward the near post, and the young keeper got down well to make the save.
Steven Ugarkovic was the next player to go close for the Jets, slamming a cutback ball from Matt Millar onto the crossbar. Dimi Petratos wasn’t able to bury the follow-up, with Josh Low smothering the shot.
Ultimately, the sole goal from Dimi would prove the difference in a tight affair at Jack McLaughlan Oval at the end of eighty minutes.