An inspired display from Adelaide shot-stopper Paul Izzo has denied the Jets making it three wins on the trot after the Reds prevailed 2-1 over the Jets at Coopers Stadium on a very hot Sunday afternoon in Adelaide.
Fresh off back to back victories over Western United and Western Sydney Wanderers, Ernie Merrick promoted last week’s super-sub Angus Thurgate to the starting the lineup in the place of the injured Abdiel Arroyo, whilst Kaine Sheppard was named on substitute’s bench as he made his return from injury.
With the temperatures pushing 40 degrees, there were two drink breaks permitted each half, as the game kicked off as planned despite concerns over the heat.
Ben Kantarovski doesn’t score many goals, but the midfield general has three goals in his last six outings against Adelaide and almost made it four just three minutes into the match as his glancing header forced Izzo to fly across his goal to keep the Jets from taking an early lead.
Shortly after the first drinks break, the Jets went even closer to taking the lead when fantastic work down the right by Matt Millar saw Nick Fitzgerald lash his shot against Izzo’s post and away for a goal kick in the 19th minute.
The Jets were enjoying success down their right flank and in the 28th minute Steven Ugarkovic found himself in space and surged through on goal before cracking an unstoppable shot that hit the underside of the crossbar but stayed out of the Adelaide goal.
In the ensuing scramble, Dimi Petratos’s shot fell at the feet of Thurgate whose turn and shot was miraculously blocked at point-blank range by the recovering Izzo as the Reds somehow stayed on level terms.
It looked a case of when, not if, the first goal would come, and it did come in the 30th minute but unfortunately for the Jets, it was the home side who took the lead against the run of play when Al-Hassan Toure’s weaving run presented a simple finish for George Blackwood to put Adelaide 1-0 up.
The Jets continued to dominate proceedings despite the setback and pushed for an equaliser before the halftime break and had two strong penalty claims waved away by referee Chris Beath, before Petratos could not keep his follow-up effort down in first-half stoppage time.
The Jets survived an early scare in the second half when Blackwood struck the post in the opening minute, but the Jets picked up where they left off before the break and scored a deserved equaliser in the 48th minute.
Dimi Petratos whipped in another dangerous corner and Matt Millar rose highest to power a header past Izzo and level the scores for the away side.
Whilst Izzo could do nothing about Millar’s header, he produced a trio of outstanding stops to keep the home side level as the Adelaide custodian first denied Millar in the 53rd, Thurgate in the 56th and then Fitzgerald in the 59th as the Jets did everything but find the back of the net.
As was the case in the first half, the Jets looked in control and led the shot count 22 to 11, but it was Adelaide who once again stole the lead when James Troisi managed to squeeze the ball past Glen Moss in the 83rd minute to put the home side back in front.
As the Jets chased another equaliser, Merrick introduced Kaine Sheppard for his first minutes of the season in the 85th minute, but despite registering 30 shots throughout the 90 minutes, it was not to be our day as Adelaide held on to take all three points on a day where the Jets created enough chances to win two games.
The Jets now return home to McDonald Jones Stadium to take on Melbourne City on Sunday 15 December.