Newcastle Jets hold onto early lead to see off North Queensland Fury
Newcastle Jets have moved into the A-League's top six with a narrow 1-0 win over North Queensland Fury tonight. It was the Jets' second win over the Fury in a matter of days as this was a rescheduled match from Week 11, following up their 3-1 away win at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday night.
Marko Jesic's 12th minute strike was the difference between the sides as the Jets controlled the first half and although the Fury dominated the second term they could not peg back the deficit and were consigned to yet another loss.
The win allowed the Jets to move into sixth place, one point clear of Melbourne Heart with a game in hand.
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle Crowd: approx. 5,000 Referee: Gerard Parsons Yellow cards:NJ - Sasho Petrovski 74' NQF - nil
The Jets started positively when defender Tarek Elrich had a crack from outside the area only to see his 10th minute dipping shot go over the crossbar in what would have been a superb beginning for the home side.
GOAL However, they did get an early lead when Labinot Haliti advanced down the left before cutting back for Marko Jesic who easily finished past Fury keeper Sebastian Usai in the 12th minute.
Newcastle should have been two goals ahead when the in-form Ruben Zadkovich produced one of the misses of the season in the 18th minute after he rounded Usai but somehow managed to put the ball over the bar under seemingly pressure.
The home side were all over their opponents in the opening 45 minutes and it seemed certain that they would add at least a second in the next term.
The second half started with the Jets needing to replace goalkeeper Ben Kennedy with Matthew Nash because of a reported concussion whilst the Fury brought back Eric Akoto for the usually reliable Mark Hughes.
In the 48th minute, Ryan Griffiths forced Usai to make a top save with a low shot after beating off defender Ramazan Tavsancioglu before the visitors made some changes which sparked some creativity up forward.
The Fury were playing with much more freedom in the midway stages of the second half as the Jets begun to take their foot off and although the visiting side had plenty of chances late, they were unable to grab a leveler, and remained rooted at the foot of the A-League after their third loss on the trot.
NJ Ben Kennedy (gk) (Nash 46'), Marcello Fiorentini, Taylor Regan, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Tarek Elrich, Kasey Wehrman, Ruben Zadkovich, Jobe Wheelhouse, Marko Jesic, Ryan Griffiths (Virgili 80'), Labinot Haliti (Petrovski 67')
Subs - Matthew Nash (gk) (46'), Sasho Petrovski (67'), James Virgili (80'), Sam Galloway NQFSebastian Usai (gk), Jack Hingert, Brett Studman (McDonald 59'), Mark Hughes (Akoto 46'), Andre Kilian, Gareth Edds, Ramazan Tavsancioglu, Chris Grossman, Adam Casey, Jason Spagnuolo, Chris Payne (Nikas 59')
Subs - Justin Pasfield (gk), Erick Akoto (46'), Panny Nikas (59'), Brad McDonald (59')