Newcastle Jets produced a gutsy and determined performance away to Melbourne Victory on Sunday to secure a 1-1 draw with the reigning Hyundai A-League Champions.
After going ahead in the 37th minute through Ryan Kitto’s second goal for the club, the Jets were reduced to ten-men after Daniel Mullen was shown his second yellow card of the contest.
Both of Mullen’s yellows in the first 45 were debatable; nevertheless the Jets were forced into playing the remainder of the round 24 match a man down.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Newcastle fashioned two good opportunities to add to their advantage on the scoreboard early in the second stanza.
Enver Alivodic bent a curling effort just wide of Lawrence Thomas’ left post in the 53rd minute of play, before Steven Ugarkovic was narrowly denied a goalscoring chance by the Victory defence after Thomas rushed out of his area to push the Olyroo wide.
Victory restored parity to the contest in the 57th minute through Albanian marksman Besart Berisha. Berisha, who Fox Sports replays indicate was offside when he received a long-ball from the back from Matthieu Delpierre, finished low beyond Jets custodian Mark Birighitti after twisting and turning inside the area.
Both Jets and Victory had opportunities to net a winner in the contest as proceedings wound to a close.
Kosta Barbarouses went closest for Kevin Muscat’s men when his cross evaded everyone before clipping off the woodwork.
Morten Nordstrand had the best of the goalscoring opportunities for the Jets late on – his bicycle kick from Jason Hoffman’s cross flew wide of the target, while the dynamic Dane also struck the side netting in the 77th minute from an acute angle following a great pass from Alivodic.
The draw takes the Jets to 27 points on the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 ladder. The club remains in eighth position, four points off seventh placed Sydney FC.
Newcastle Jets will play their final home game of the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 regular season at Hunter Stadium on Saturday 26 March against Perth Glory. Away games against Brisbane Roar and Central Coast Mariners will follow.
Melbourne Victory 1 (Berisha 57’)
Newcastle Jets 1 (Kitto 37’)
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Referee: Chris Beath
Substitutes not used: 9. Milos Trifunovic, 20. Ben Kennedy (Gk)
Yellow cards: Mullen x2
Red cards: Mullen
Melbourne Victory: 2. Jason Geria, 3. Scott Galloway, 6. Leigh Broxham (C), 7. Gui Finkler, 8. Besart Berisha, 9. Kosta Barbarouses (19. George Howard 80’), 13. Oliver Bozanic, 17. Matthieu Delpierre, 20. Lawrence Thomas (Gk), 23. Jai Ingham (10. Archie Thompson 68’), 24. Thomas Deng (22. Jesse Makarounas 46’)
Substitutes not used: 1. Danny Vukovic (Gk), 15. Giancarlo Gallifuoco
Yellow cards: Makarounas, Delpierre, Finkler, Galloway
Red cards: Nil