Newcastle Jets clinch draw with late goal against Central Coast Mariners
The F3 derby, as always, provided plenty of drama with Sasho Petrovski grabbing an injury-time equalizer after Matt Simon had earlier put the Mariners ahead against the run of play.
The point allowed the Jets to remain eighth after Wellington Phoenix replaced them following their win this evening whilst the Mariners stayed fourth on 26 points from 15 matches.
The fixture was deferred from Week 16 as the Jets have had to move a few games around to accommodate for the visit of LA Galaxy and David Beckham this weekend.
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium Crowd: 7,730 Referee: Matthew Breeze Yellow cards:NJ - Jobe Wheelhouse 53', Sasho Petrovski 74' CCM - nil
The Jets had a couple of good early chances, particularly through Francis Jeffers in the 9th minute, and were dominating possession up until about the 20-minute mark when the Mariners began to fight back.
Jeffers had to be subbed off at the half-hour mark with a groin strain but it didn't stop the home side from peppering the goals although all their good attacking work mounted to nothing before the half-time whistle.
GOAL When played resumed, it was the Mariners who managed to get the opener against the run of play when young gun Mustafa Amini found Matt Simon in the area and despite a poor first touch, the striker got a second chance and finished well past Jets keeper Ben Kennedy to make it 1-0 in the 50th minute.
After the goal, it was Newcastle as they strived for a leveler, forcing the Mariners to camp on the edge of their own 18-yard box and it should have been 1-1 when Jobe Wheelhouse forced a double save from Central Coast keeper Matthew Ryan in the 76th minute. The teenager knocked away Wheelhouse's first effort from close range before putting his body courageously over the ball as the midfielder lashed at the deflection.
Three minutes later, the visitors had a great opportunity to wrap up the match when youngster Trent Sainsbury played a teasing ball into the area which was missed by Oliver Bozanic at the front post and the by substitute Adam Kwasnik at the back in what was a huge let off for Branko Culina's men.
GOAL The Jets kept coming and the Mariners were able to hold them out until the 92nd minute when Ben Kantarovski got his head to a long throw-in which was poorly cleared by the Mariners defence, allowing wily veteran Sasho Petrovski to get his boot to it and force the match to 1-1.
But the drama wasn't finished as the Mariners had two strong chances in the final seconds but thankfully, neither got past Kennedy and the home side were able to snatch a point.
NJ Ben Kennedy (gk), Adam D'Apuzzo, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Ljubo Milicevic (Wheelhouse 46'), Ben Kantarovski, Kasey Wehrman, Ruben Zadkovich, Tarek Elrich, Marko Jesic, Ali Abbas (Petrovski 69'), Francis Jeffers (Haliti 31')
Subs - Matthew Nash (gk), Labinot Haliti (31'), Jobe Wheelhouse (46'), Sasho Petrovski (69')
CCM Matthew Ryan (gk), Daniel McBreen (Kwasnik 62'), Joshua Rose, Patrick Zwaanswijk, John Hutchinson, Oliver Bozanic (Doig 90+2'), Michael McGlinchey, Trent Sainsbury, Alex Wilkinson, Matt Simon, Mustafa Amini (Lewis 87')
Subs - Paul Henderson (gk), Adam Kwasnik (62'), Matthew Lewis (87'), Chris Doig (90+2')