A brace to midfielder Angus Thurgate wasn’t enough to prevent Newcastle Jets Youth from losing their fifth and final match at the 2017 Weifang Cup in China on Saturday.
After a positive start to the tournament which included a win over hosts Shandong Luneng, a loss to Mexican giants Chivas Guadalajara, and a draw with Belgian heavyweights Club Brugge, the Jets’ under 18 selection suffered consecutive defeats to finish the tournament in eighth place.
Thurgate opened the scoring in the 15th minute of the contest when he sent a low left foot finish beyond Tokyo custodian Yu Kanoshima.
The team from Japan’s capital hit back in the 23rd minute when Riku Kobayashi reacted sharply to head into an empty net after the ball took a wicked deflection on its way towards goal.
The side from the land of the rising sun took the lead five minutes later when Rikuto Yachida beat a number of Jets defenders before sending a curling effort into the back of the net.
The Jets started the second half intent on restoring parity to the contest, and should have on the hour mark when Thurgate was presented with a good chance from eight yards.
20 minutes from time right back Tyson Jackson fired a crisp cross into the box, which just evaded the Jets’ attackers.
Three minutes later Thurgate did well in the area to win possession, spin, then send a low strike into Kanoshima’s goal.
A lapse in defensive attention and discipline cost the Jets with just seven minutes left on the clock. After a corner the team failed to clear their lines, allowing Daichi Nakatani to score what would prove to be the winner for FC Tokyo.
Jets Chief Executive Officer & Youth Coach Lawrie McKinna offered a raw and honest appraisal of the team’s performance following the match.
“We are a long way behind where we should be,” McKinna said. “That was a game that we should have won.”
“We huffed and puffed and got back to two each and we were well on top, but then I can’t believe that we got beat with a set piece by a team of guys who are half the size of our guys.”
“For us to be up and challenging for tournaments such as this we need to improve big time.”
Newcastle Jets 2 (Thurgate 15’, 73’)
FC Tokyo 3 (Kobayashi 23’, Yachida 28’, Nakatani 83’)
Venue: Luneng Academy Pitch (A3)
Referee: Yang Nan