Newcastle Jets performed strongly against competition heavyweights Melbourne City FC, finishing 3-1 victors in a preseason friendly behind closed doors at the City Football Academy on Wednesday.
A frenetic start to the opening stanza saw both sides trade blows during the opening 20 minutes, with opportunities to score missed at either end.
The Jets would eventually capitalise through Joe Champness, who found the back of the net thanks to some slick work from Andrew Nabbout mid-way through the first half
Champness’ effort was followed by goals from Roy O’ Donovan (40’) and Andrew Nabbout (42’) – putting the Jets in a strong position at half time.
Following the break, City looked to respond quickly with early chances to Bruce Kamau and Bruno Fornaroli, but it would be Michael Jakobsen (56’) who would find the back of the net for home side from a well placed corner.
Despite the setback, second half custodian Jack Duncan and the Jets’ defence held firm for the remainder of the match, thwarting City’s best attacking efforts as Newcastle ended the Victorian club’s perfect pre-season record.
Jets Head Coach Ernie Merrick was pleased with the win, but wasn’t getting carried away with the positive result.
“It was an impressive performance, we had a few guys miss out through illness and injury but overall there were some great signs for our squad,” Merrick said.
“We faced a quality club in Melbourne City, who fielded a strong starting side and our boys were able to put them under pressure and take advantage of some goal scoring opportunities.
“Roy (O’Donovan), Joey (Champness) and Andrew (Nabbout) were outstanding up front and were the beneficiaries of some quality service through the midfield.
“Our front third has been a real focus for us and the movement and finishing of our attacking players was top class today – testimony to the boys work in training so far this pre-season.
“Nikolai (Topor-Stanley) and Nigel (Boogaard) were immense at the back and were able to handle an attacking onslaught from City in the second half.
“All in all, this is a pre-season clash and while it’s a pleasing result, we’ve still got a lot to work on before season kick-off on October 7.”
The Jets will return to Newcastle today, as they begin preparations for their next pre-season fixture against Canberra Olympic next week.
Melbourne City Starting XI: Dean BOUZANIS, Manny MUSCAT, Scott JAMIESON, Osama MALIK, Nick FITZGERALD, Neil KILKENNY, Bruce KAMAU, Ruon TONGYIK, Michael JAKOBSEN, Bruno FORNAROLI, Luke BRATTAN
Subs: Braedyn CROWLEY, Daniel ARZANI, Denis GENREAU, Tim CAHILL, Christian CAVALLO, Ramy NAJJARINE, Dylan PIERIAS, Nathaniel ATKINSON, Yaren SOZER, James DELIANOV
Newcastle Jets Starting XI: Glen MOSS, Daniel GEORGIEVSKI, Nigel BOOGARD, Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, Ivan VUJICA, Ben KANTAROVSKI, Wayne BROWN, Dimitri PETRATOS, Joe CHAMPNESS, Roy O’DONOVAN, Andrew NABBOUT
Subs: Nick COWBURN, Lachlan JACKSON, Johnny KOUTROUMBIS, Jack DUNCAN