A wonderstrike from British import Wayne Brown wasn’t enough to seal all three points for Newcastle Jets in the opening round of the Hyundai A-League 2016/17 Season, as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Adelaide United at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
It was a luckless afternoon for the home side, in which they suffered three injuries, and a mix up in defence cost them a goal.
The Jets created enough chances to win the match, especially in the second half, with locals Andrew Hoole and Nick Cowburn just lacking the finishing touch.
The visitors had the best of the opening chances, which seemed to spark the Jets into life with Aleksandr Kokko blocking a clearance from Adelaide keeper Eugene Galekovic in the 16th minute. Fortunately for the Reds Galekovic was spared his blushes as the ball hit the crossbar and bounced away harmlessly.
A minute later the Jets took the lead. Andrew Nabbout played a pass to Brown, who craftily skipped between defenders before thumping home a volley from outside the box.
Soon after Newcastle almost doubled their advantage after a pinpoint cross from Nabbout found Hoole, but Galekovic reacted smartly to deny the former Sydney FC man’s effort which was on target
A mix up at the back from the Jets invited Adelaide back into the match and they took full advantage. Jesse Makarounas buried his shot into an empty net after Daniel Mullen and Jack Duncan had got their wires crossed after half an hour of play.
But, Newcastle responded before half-time with a couple of corners, and substitute Devante Clut went close, just putting his shot from outside the area wide.
After the break, Hoole – in his first Hyundai A-League match back in Newcastle colours – had a golden chance to restore the home side’s advantage. Hoole made a strong run off the ball down the left and was found impressively by Clut. Hoole then chipped the ball over the advancing Galekovic, but didn’t strike at goal quickly enough and James Holland managed to get back quickly enough to clear the threat.
Not long after Hoole’s chance Cowburn glanced a header from an acute angle centimetres wide of the mark.
Unfortunately for Newcastle all three substitutions Mark Jones made in the match were forced by injury. Kokko, Jason Hoffman and Daniel Mullen each were injured in the encounter, the severity of which will be known more fully in the coming days.
The Jets will take confidence from the chances they created throughout their opening round contest, and coach Jones said in his post-match press conference that he hopes to have the experienced Morten Nordstrand and Mateo Poljak back on deck next week for the clash with Brisbane Roar in Newcastle.
Newcastle Jets 1 (Brown 17’)
Adelaide United 1 (Makarounas 30’)
McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
Referee: Alan Milliner
Newcastle Jets: 2. Daniel Mullen (13. Ivan Vujica 72’), 3. Jason Hoffman (22. Lachlan Jackson 63’), 4. Nigel Boogaard, 5. Ben Kantarovski, 6. Steven Ugarkovic, 7. Andrew Hoole, 9. Aleksandr Kokko (23. Devante Clut 36’), 10. Wayne Brown, 15. Andrew Nabbout, 16. Nick Cowburn, 20. Jack Duncan (Gk)
Substitutes not used: 11. Labinot Haliti, 30. Pierce Clark (Gk)
Yellow cards: Nabbout 90’, Hoole 90+3’
Red cards: Nil
Adelaide United: 1. Eugene Galekovic (Gk), 3. Iacopo La Rocca, 4. Dylan McGowan, 7. Henrique(24. Jordan O’Doherty 84’), 8. Isaias, 9. Sergio Guardiola, 11. Sergio Cirio, 16. Jesse Makarounas (22. Ryan Kitto 71’), 19. Ben Garuccio, 21. Tarek Elrich, 25. James Holland
Substitutes not used: 18. Riley McGree, 20. John Hall (Gk), 29. Ben Warland
Yellow cards: Isaias 66’, Kitto 90’
Red cards: Nil