Newcastle Jets have scored twice in the final 13 minutes to record a 2-0 win over Gold Coast United tonight. The Jets extended their unbeaten run to seven games with a patient performance which saw two late goals from Ali Abbas and Sasho Petrovski either side of Ljubo Milicevic's sending off.
The home side had the better of the chances as Gold Coast, without marquee man Jason Culina, generally sat back and waited and in the end it was their undoing.
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle Crowd: 8,046 Referee: Ryan Shepheard Yellow cards:NJ - Kasey Wehrman 34', Ljubo Milicevic 50'/78' GCU - Steve Pantelidis 19' Red card:NJ - Ljubo Milicevic 78'
The Jets begun in a positive fashion with a few half chances in the opening ten minutes. The likes of Francis Jeffers and Ali Abbas were causing some problems for the restructured Gold Coast defence down one end whilst it was Zenon Caravella in midfield and Tahj Minniecon up front looking deadliest for the visitors.
After a promising start, Jets midfielder Marcello Fiorentini's lashed shot over the crossbar in the 10th minute was the only chance of any note prior to the 25-minute mark when Jeffers' one-on-one with Gold Coast keeper Glen Moss was well kept out by the New Zealand gloveman.
Less than a minute later, Jeffers turned Dino Djulbic around in the area but again his clear shot was thwarted by Moss who had done well twice in quick succession although signs were ominous for his side as the Jets were continually streaking forward.
Dino Djulbic's 34th minute header from a corner was Gold Coast's best chance of the half whilst Newcastle had a few more opportunities through Fiorentini who tried his luck from outside the area and Marko Jesic's 45th minute left-footed first time shot.
Two minutes after the re-start, Gold Coast's Minniecon's left-footed crack did not trouble Jets keeper Matthew Nash but it was good early signs for the visitors.
However, they almost found themselves a goal down in the 49th minute when another chance went begging for the Jets. Ali Abbas hit a neat shot with his left boot from outside the area but Moss came up with an absolutely outstanding save, diving to his right and throwing up his left hand diverting the ball, which was heading for the top left corner, onto the crossbar before he followed up the loose ball, keeping the Jets at bay yet again.
The 70th minute saw a top-class save down the other end when Nash sprung into action to knock a flying Bruce Djite shot over the crossbar. It wasn't quite as good as Moss' but definitely one for the highlight reel.
GOAL Seven minutes later, the Jets got a deserved lead when Kasey Wehrman controlled the ball at the top of the 'D' with his chest before playing in Abbas. The Iraqi was on hand to fire home on his left, giving Moss no chance, and sending the EnergyAustralia Stadium faithful into raptures.
Not a minute had passed before Jets skipper Ljubo Milicevic was given his marching orders after being shown a second yellow card, reducing the home side to ten men.
GOAL Five minutes after the opening goal, the Jets went 2-0 up when Wehrman's bending free-kick was parried away from Moss but substitute Sasho Petrovski was there, as always, and managed to control with his chest, then his left thigh before volleying home from a tight angle to give his side an unassailable lead.
With five minutes extra-time, Gold Coast attempted to pull at least one back but they were unsuccessful in doing so and would leave the Hunter with no points in their pocket as the Jets roll along.
NJ Matthew Nash (gk), Tarek Elrich, Ljubo Milicevic, Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Adam D'Apuzzo, Ruben Zadkovich (Petrovski 67'), Marcello Fiorentini, Kasey Wehrman, Marko Jesic, Francis Jeffers, Ali Abbas
Subs - Ben Kennedy (gk), Sasho Petrovski (67'), Labinot Haliti, Kaz Patafta
GCU Glen Moss (gk), Steve Pantelidis, Dino Djulbic, Michael Thwaite, Anderson, Zenon Caravella (Lustica 85'), Bas van den Brink, James Brown (Porter 42'), Adama Traore, Bruce Djite, Tahj Minniecon (Fitzsimmons 71')
Subs - Scott Higgins (gk), Joel Porter (42'), Steve Fitzsimmons (71'), Steve Lustica (85')