- Newcastle Jets 2-1 Adelaide United at McDonald Jones Stadium
- Email: email@example.com | Tweet: @RichardGadbsy1
Where to start with that one? Hats off to Newcastle for battling right to the end. They’re in the top six now after back-to-back wins and, who knows, with confidence building and quality players returning from injury, they might well stay up there.
But it was an analysis-defying performance from Adelaide. Did someone hear a whistle at the 90-minute mark and figure the game was over? They just seemed to clock off. The Reds dominated possession, had several clear chances and towards the end had Newcastle on the ropes – yet they got what they deserved purely for that bizarre final three minutes.
Unsurprisingly, that’s it. Newcastle have won it with almost the last kick of the game. Duncan at the other end of the pitch looks like a very relieved man.
90+4 mins: And that IS the winner! Nordstrand nicks it in injury time, making no mistake where his two teammates failed just moments earlier.
90+3 mins: No… THAT should have been the winner! Hoole goes clean through but hits the outside of the post. How did he miss?
90+2 mins: That should have been the winner! Brown in a one-on-one with the keeper but it’s a poor effort straight at the shotstopper.
90+1 mins: Mileusnic comes on for Cirio as Adelaide make a last roll of the dice/eat up more time.
89 mins: Late corner for the Jets. Leilei flicks it in but a good punch from Galekovic clears the danger. The Jets keep the pressure up but Boogaard commits a cynical foul just as the Reds are looking to break away and that’s that.
87 mins: Not long to go, and a share of the spoils would probably be about right. Leilei comes on for Nabbout – who deservedly gets a big round of applause. He’s been the best player on the pitch.
85 mins: Like new year fireworks in the rain, this game is starting to fizzle out. Adelaide look the more likely to nick it – especially as Duncan is clearly rattled by that error. If I was Amor, I’d be telling his team to pepper the goal from all angles.
82 mins: Adelaide look a lot more confident since that slice of luck to get them back in the game. Is that the moment when they get their old magic back and charge back up the table? Probably not, but it’s definitely lifted them.
81 mins: Hoffman with a free header at the back post, but the angle is too fine and he can only find the sidenetting. It was a definite chance though, he might have been put off by his own man (Brown) lurking behind him.
80 mins: Ugarkovic with a glancing header from distance but it’s too high and Galekovic watches it sail over the bar. Is there another goal in this game? It feels like it, although it’s tough to say who’s more likely to nick it.
78 mins: Kitto comes on for Guardiola as Adelaide finally make that change.
77 mins: That goal has changed the whole complexion of the game, there’s a little bit of nervousness creeping into the Jets defence.
75 mins: Some of the fire has gone out of the game, though that might be an intentional ploy by Adelaide who are passing it around with a little bit more confidence now.
73 mins: The Duncan howler is currently on repeat on my Twitter feed. It get worse with every viewing.
70 mins: The Jets on the attack at the other end, winning a couple of corners as they look to hit straight back. There’s a bit of a scramble from the second one but Adelaide get away with it.
68 mins: Dear oh dear. A howler from Duncan. What should have been an easily dealt with free-kick from Isaias is curled in straight to the keeper’s chest – but instead of catching it, he goes for the punch and it flies off the bottom of his fist, hits the deck, then bounces into the roof of the net. Adelaide have had enough chances to say they deserve that.
66 mins: Adelaide pushing and probing for an opening. A great ball through finds Henrique and Hall nicks the back of the legs juuuust before he reaches the box. Free-kick on the left for Adelaide.
64 mins: Time for Adelaide to change things up. The subs are warming up. Henrique again very close to going clean through from a curling Carrusca pass – but he controls it with his arm.
61 mins: The Jets whip a free-kick into the box – but the referee blows for a bit of push and shove and Adelaide are off the hook. The pace has slowed down again, though chances are still coming. Boogaard makes a fantastic block to deny Guardiola at the back post. It didn’t look pretty but the ball was bouncing at an awakward height and he didn’t have many options under pressure.
58 mins: The substitute almost makes an instant impact – catching the defence flatfooted (most of them looking to the linesman for help), then cracking a shot on the edge of the box straight at the keeper.
57 mins: Nordstrand on for Clut as Newcastle make the first change of the game.
55 mins: Carrusca slices one wide for Adelaide. The Jets still look the more likely to score but Adelaide have had more than enough chances to get off the mark. Newcastle win a corner and Mullen just manages to punch it to safety under pressure.
52 mins: Terrible miss from Hoole. So bad it made me chuckle. The Jets man charges into the box full of intent but the final ball slices off the side of his boot and flails wide to the relief of Galekovic.
49 mins: Another Jets free-kick after a failed Adelaide counter-attack. They play it short, and pass it all the way back to Duncan… who takes a nervous touch before passing it out wide. They don’t do defensive passing quite as fluently as Adelaide.
47 mins: The Jets still doing all the running, looking more urgent to get it up the pitch. Hoole pounces on an error and sets Brown free. He can’t get a decent shot away but he still wins a corner.
Peeeeep! And we’re back. Adelaide with the kick-off and – surprise, surprise – they’re happy to play it around the back four. That possession counter keeps ticking higher and higher – but the scoreline stays the same.
Right now, I’d say the chances of Adelaide claiming back-to-back titles are about as realistic as this.
It has been pretty blatant. The Jets would have been clean through a couple of times if not for a some cynical trips on the halfway line.
The whistle blows and the Jets jog off with their heads up. You can tell which team is winning from body language alone. Catch you in 15 mins.
45 mins: Henrique is cutting a frustrated figure as he gives away an offside. A couple of inches and he would have been clean through. That could be their last chance of the half.
43 mins: A little bit of possession from Adelaide goes to waste when Henrique catches Brown with a stretched leg. The free-kick finds Hoole on the right (again sunning himself in miles of space) but he can’t find the target. Poor shot really, but under pressure.
41 mins: Half-time looming and the Jets are looking reasonably comfortable. Adelaide are giving them acres of space in the middle of the pitch, very little pressing from the midfielders.
39 mins: Duncan is almost caught out after taking a poor first touch. His second touch, under pressure, could have gone anywhere – luckily it goes straight to the boots of Boogaard, who kicks it out. Safety first. Again.
37 mins: Boogaard with a great sliding tackle to deny Henriques. He’s already made a big difference for the Jets. No nonsense, simple stuff – but he does it well.
35 mins: Adelaide look like they’ve had the stuffing knocked out of them. Clut with a glancing header but it barely troubles Galekovic. The Jets have opened them up far too often.
31 mins: Adelaide were carved open like a turkey at Christmas. That’s happened far too often this season and is the reason they’re in the predicament they’re in. All the more galling is it was somewhat against the run of play.
29 mins: Nabbout with the opener… although he took his sweet time. Clut is slotted through and times his ball to Nabbout perfectly just as the defender commits himself. It leaves Nabbout with a one-on-one with the keeper – and he takes an age to get it under control before picking his spot and passing it into the net. The recovering defender very nearly saved the day for Adelaide.
27 mins: The Jets trying to get back into it now, although their passing is not quite as fluid as Adelaide. Hoffman ends up in the book after an, admittedly unintentional, studs-up challenge following a poor first touch.
24 mins: Adelaide have had two thirds of the possession in the last 10 minutes. Hardly a siege but in this weather it only takes one mistake under pressure to open the door. The tempo seems to have settled a little since that opening 20 minutes, Adelaide putting their foot on the ball and knocking it around… until La Rocca cuts down Clut and gives away a free-kick.
22 mins: It’s chucking it down out there – and Adelaide are raining crosses into the box. McGowan jumps to connect with a deep free-kick – but he leaps suspiciously high and is penalised for climbing up Boogaard’s back. Jets holding on a little bit.
20 mins: Another corner for Adelaide, Carrusca whips it in but a solid defensive head clears it way outside the box. When it’s pumped back in, Guardiola is clearly offside and the whistle blows.
17 mins: Henrique under pressure in a race to get to the ball first but his deflected shot crawls inches wide as Duncan watches on helplessly. From the corner, they hit the post with a free header. Adelaide starting to get on top with a spell of pressure.
15 mins: The Jets seem intent on whipping balls into the box, but they just aren’t quite connecting with the forwards. Nabbout is the danger man so far. Meanwhile Adelaide are still lurking with intent, still a subdued version of their title-winning selves though.
12 mins: It’s been a pretty open game so far, the Jets edging it. Nabbout breaks through on the left after timing his run to perfection – but his delivery into the box isn’t quite so perfect, curling the ball tamely into the keeper’s hands. Not his usual standard.
10 mins: Holland is furious – John Tomic furious – after a 50-50 collision with Carrusca. The Adelaide man seemed to go over the top of the ball. The ref gives the free-kick the other way and the resulting shot whistles past the post.
7 mins: Bit better from Adelaide, Elrich and Carrusca both denied by swinging defensive legs in and around the Jets area – then Boogaard puts his foot through it. Safety first.
5 mins: More danger from the Jets with crosses into the box but Adelaide just about escape, somehow. If the Jets could finish they’d be dangerous.
3 mins: OOooo! Duncan gets a fingertip to the ball to poke it onto the post and deny Cirio an early goal. The subsequent corner fails to beat the first man and the Jets escape. Early action at both ends.
2 mins: Elrich gets his head on the cross before it can reach Hoffman at the back stick. No real danger.
Peeeeeep! And we’re off. Newcastle making most of the early running, in pretty safe areas as far as Adelaide are concerned. But the Jets have an early free-kick from about 35 yards out.
Poor Friday night weather and a clashing schedule with the carols in King Edward Park means it could be a fairly silent night in the stands. That was seriously the best pun I could come up with. The teams are out now anyway, kick-off imminent.
Did anyone else feel that an excellent performance by the Jets last week was drowned out by the noise of pundits frantically wringing their hands over what was wrong with Perth? I’ve been as guilty as anyone of writing off the Jets this season – but they could have won by more and Mark Jones’ post-match comments regarding the return of Daniel Mullen, Nigel Boogaard, Andrew Nabbout et al gave me pause for thought…
It’s not rocket science. You take five or six starting players out of any team in the world, and the team’s going to struggle. If we keep playing the same way [we did against Perth], it would be nice to sneak into the six.
If Adelaide do manage to turn things around and fight their way back up the A-League ladder, it will be even more remarkable this year seeing as they’ve just been given the draw from – well, maybe not hell but a suburb within commuting range of the hell CBD – in the Asian Champions League. Of course, a win against Jeonbuk Motors or Jiangsu Suning could also regalvanise their season. So let’s raise that half-full glass to Adelaide on their ACL quest.
Related: Tough draws for A-League sides in Asian Champions League group stage | John Duerden
Newcastle Jets: Duncan, Mullen, Hoffman, Boogaard, Ugarkovic, Hoole, Poljak, Brown, Vujica, Nabbout, Clut. Subs: Cowburn, Ma, Nordstrand, Koutrambis, Clark
Adelaide Utd: Galekovic, La Rocca, McGowan, Garuccio, Elrich, Carrusca, Isiais, Holland, Cirio, Henrique, Guardiola. Subs: Regan, Mells, Hall, Mileusnic, Kitto
A little reminder of what happened the first time these two met back in October. It’s worth a look just to watch the hapless comedy of errors that led to United’s equaliser – Jack Duncan pulling off a perfect slide tackle against his own defender to set up the goal for (heyyyy) Makarounas. Marvellous stuff.
Evening everyone, thanks for joining me for tonight’s clash between two teams eager to get past the burly bloke manning the door to the top six, but struggling to remember which pocket they put their finals credentials in. Not that Gui Amor has any qualms about manhandling authority figures.
And while the top six might seem a little bit of a stretch for a couple of clubs who were propping up the rest of the table recently, stranger things have happened… like this time last season when Adelaide were in the same position, went on what the experts call a “stonking run”, and ended up winning the whole shebang. Not that there’s been much evidence of a similar revival for the Reds this year.
Richard will be with you shortly. In the meantime, check out the latest A-League cartoon from our genius in residence, David Squires.
Related: David Squires on … booing Tim Cahill and Santa’s A-League naughty list