Report: Ten-man Jets outdone by City
With just four minutes on the clock, Newcastle fans were in dreamland after a goalkeeping error played a huge role in giving the Jets the lead away from home.
Half an hour later, a red card to Ronny Vargas and a pair of Melbourne City goals meant the Jets had it all to do.
It was an inspired effort and there were the finest of margins on show as a ten-man Newcastle huffed and huffed, but couldn’t blow the City house down.
Nikolai Topor-Stanley went close to laying on a goal on Wednesday night, and in the fourth minute of this one he did pick up an assist.
Lifting a hopeful ball over the top for Roy O’Donovan, Eugene Galekovic came charging out to head clear – but a mix-up saw the goalkeeper and a City defender collide, and the Irish striker virtually walked the ball into back of the net.
A Nigel Boogaard interception proved crucial with ten minutes gone to prevent Riley McGree from levelling the scores, before Matt Ridenton let rip from a long way out up the other end which Galekovic saw wide.
Disaster struck in the 25th minute, when Ronny Vargas was shown a second yellow card and sent from the field for a handball inside the 18-yard box, reducing the Jets to ten men and allowing Riley McGree to level the scores from the penalty spot.
Things weren’t falling the Jets way, and the bad times were compounded when Luke Brattan fired home from 20 yards out to give Melbourne City the advantage.
With the man advantage, City began to take control of the match and thus dictated it’s flow. A handful of half-chances, thankfully, didn’t fall for Melbourne.
As the first half wore on, the Jets began to advance forward and nearly went close to levelling the score with a flurry of opportunities but the visiting side wasn’t able to capitalise before the end of the first 45.
With the game levelling out as both sides returned for the second half, the Jets began to look comfortable on the ball with ten. It took a great stop down low from Lewis Italiano to deny Riley McGree from range with just over five minutes gone.
A series of set pieces in attacking positions throughout the opening ten minutes didn’t bear any fruit – the best opportunity from these was Jason Hoffman’s blocked shot at the back post in the 55th minute.
Dimi Petratos sent a chance from inside the penalty area over the bar in the 66th minute as the Jets looked to take advantage of a brief level playing field, with Scott Jamieson briefly off the pitch for treatment.
Newcastle had their best chance yet for a second goal in the 72nd minute after Dimi Petratos played in the left-back, Daniel Georgievski, and his right-footed strike hit the post and bounced agonisingly clear.
Steven Ugarkovic nearly scored a rocket from outside the area after the Jets streamed forward and nearly caught City out after a corner, and Newcastle began to pile forward in order to find an all-important equaliser.
Despite the substitutions of attacking weapons such as Jair and Kaine Sheppard, a ten-man Jets weren’t able to find what would have been a famous second goal.
After three games in seven days, the Jets will now be able to spend a couple more days preparing for their next fixture – Saturday night against Melbourne Victory.