Daily Archives: January 11, 2014

Jets and Victory share spoils

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A depleted Melbourne Victory side did enough to hold the Newcastle Jets to an exciting 1-1 draw in at Hunter Stadium on Friday night.

The Jets held sway in the opening half and duly went ahead when Victory forward Mitch Nichols deflected a Craig Goodwin free kick into his own goal three minutes before the break.

Melbourne equalised shortly after the restart with a swift counter attack that saw Andrew Nabbout poke home.

Both sides had chances to win the contest but neither could find a decisive finish and had to be content with a point apiece.

The Jets enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening stages but their only real sights on goal came from Ruben Zadkovich with the former Derby County man blazing a couple of long-ranch opportunities over the bar.

The Victory played on the counter and had their first chance to open the scoring when Kosta Barbarouses broke the off-side trap and but couldn’t find a way past Jets goal-keeper Mark Birighitti.

Craig Goodwin then went close for Newcastle in the 38th minute when his low free-kick from 25 metres out went through the wall and forced a sharp diving save from Nathan Coe with the rebound hacked clear by Pablo Contreras.

The young winger’s next free kick proved to more pivotal with his dangerous cross into the box flicking off the head of an unfortunate Mitch Nichols who steered the ball into his own net to see the Jets take a 1-0 lead into the break.

The home side looked like they they might extend their lead early in the second half when James Brown was put into a prime scoring space after a swift counter attack but he sprayed his shot widely over the crossbar.

The Victory made their opponents pay immediately with Barbarouses breaking down the right before sending a lovely cross for Andrew Nabbout to poke it into the goal.

Gary van Egmond then brought on James Virgili for Brown and he almost had an immediate impact when he whipped in a dangerous cross to Goodwin but he skimmed what was a free header wide of the far post.

The game started to open up with both sides finding plenty of space in midfield with Barbarouses and James Triosi having half chances for the Victory while Nathan Burns and Zadkovich both saw good chances inside the box blocked by a desperate Melbourne defence.

The hosts finished the game the stronger with substitute Michael Bridges finding space to fire from an angle but Contreras deflected it wide.

Burns had a chance to win the contest four minutes from time when he streaked into the box but his blocked shot ballooned agonisingly over the crossbar.

Substitute Archie Thompson almost snatched victory at the death when he engineered a vicious shot on the turn that forced a fantastic reflex save from Birighitti who dived full length to push the ball around the post and earn his side a share of the points.

Newcastle Jets 1
Nichols 42og
Melbourne Victory 1
Nabbout 50

Crowd 12,270 at Hunter Stadium
Source: footballaustralia.com.au

Perth find glory as Heart sinks to new low

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Melbourne Heart equalled an unwanted A-League record of 19 matches without a win after crashing to a 3-0 loss to Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Friday night.

A sensational goal from Adrian Zahra put the home side ahead in the 64th minute before the returning Shane Smeltz iced the win with a late brace.

Adding to Heart’s woes, substitute Dylan McAllister was sent off in his first match back from a hamstring injury after receiving two yellow cards during his 11 minutes on the pitch.

The undisciplined Heart copped five cautions as the Melbourne club failed to capitalise on a host of chances to snatch their first win of the season.

None came better than when Heart winger Mate Dugandzic found himself one-on-one with Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic late in the match, only to knock the ball wide of the goalmouth.

Perth’s second win in as many weeks under interim coach Kenny Lowe temporarily pushed the club back into the top six ahead of tough clashes against Brisbane Roar, Western Sydney and Melbourne Victory.

Zahra had no problems celebrating against his former club when he dribbled into the box from the left and hammered the ball past a hapless Adam Redmayne.

Smeltz scored his first two goals of an injury-interrupted season when he first outmuscled Aziz Behich and then was gifted a second from a Redmayne error.

Heart captain Harry Kewell had a game to forget after copping a yellow card for a handball before being substituted after 70 minutes, much to the delight of the parochial Perth crowd.

Kewell and besieged striker Michael Mifsud have scored just one goal between them this season and never really threatened Vukovic or the Glory defence.

Heart’s 19th match without a win equalled the record set by the now-defunct New Zealand Knights in the first two seasons of the A-League.

It was a disappointing end for the Heart after working their way back into the match following a fast start from Glory.

Perth controlled possession in the first 15 minutes until Zahra was forced off the pitch with a cut head after an aerial clash with Heart defender Patrick Gerhardt.

Glory played with 10 men for seven minutes while Zahra was treated and the on-field advantage seemed to spark the visitors.

Patrick Gerhardt almost scored a priceless goal for Heart with a sliding effort that forced Vukovic to make a reflex save with his legs.

Vukovic was called into action again moments later to make a diving save to deny a long-range attempt from Nick Kalmar.

By that stage, Heart was dominating the match and would have taken the lead if Iain Ramsay had not hit the crossbar.

But they couldn’t make their early pressure count and were made to pay for a Glory side who look like an invigorated unit under the tutelage of Lowe.

Source: footballaustralia.com.au