Newcastle Jets were tonight desperately unlucky not to beat league leaders Brisbane Roar at EnergyAustralia Stadium. The home side were the better of the two teams in the 1-1 draw and probably should have taken all three points but it was not to be as the Roar took their unbeaten streak to 11 matches by showing true character.
Venue: EnergyAustralia Stadium, Newcastle Crowd: 7,829 Referee: Peter Green Yellow cards:NJ - Ruben Zadkovich 59', Ljubo Milicevic 64' BR - nil
Newcastle followed on from their weekend win over second-placed Adelaide United by pushing forward and testing the Brisbane defence.
The 16th minute almost provided a moment of madness for the Roar when a poor back pass to goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos was latched onto by Francis Jeffers but upon regaining his feet could not get a solid enough touch on the ball and thankfully for the visitors the incident came to nothing.
Newcastle continued on their way by worrying the Roar with their positive play but down the other end, Brisbane went close when Reinaldo forced a save out of Jets keeper Ben Kennedy before the home side finished the first half in a an encouraging fashion.
GOAL The deadlock was finally broken in the 53rd minute when Jets young gun Ben Kantarovski finished with a strong header from a Kasey Wehrman corner at the front post, rewarding the home team for their dominance.
The Roar almost leveled seven minutes later when after a goalmouth scramble, Mitch Nichols struck solidly with his left foot but his shot, which had Kennedy beaten, struck the near upright and deflected away to safety from a Jets point of view.
Newcastle weren't finished, however, and continued to push forward with frequency. It seemed as though a second goal would come and it almost did when substitute Labinot Haliti let rip with just over ten minutes left but his left foot shot sizzled past Theoklitos and his post.
GOAL But against the run of play, the Roar hit back when Nichols slid a pinpoint ball to an advancing Ivan Franjic who took it into the area before cutting back to an unmarked Jean Carlos Solorzano. The Costa Rican tapped in unchallenged but the Jets fans were furious with referee Peter Green as they thought the first pass was off-side.
With two minutes remaining, the Jets should have taken the win when Ljubo Milicevic played a nice ball into the path of Ruben Zadkovich who cruised into the area from the right and got hold of his shot but Theoklitos deflected it onto the post with a bit of fortune as the Roar somehow managed to hold on for a draw.
Subs - Matthew Nash (gk), Labinot Haliti (68'), Sasho Petrovski, Kaz Patafta
BR Michael Theoklitos (gk), Matt Smith, Luke DeVere, Ivan Franjic, Erik Paartalu, Kosta Barbarouses (Visconte 85'), Massimo Murdocca (Mundy 62'), Reinaldo, Mitch Nichols, Thomas Broich, Milan Susak (Solorzano 62')
Subs - Andrew Redmayne (gk), Matt Mundy (62'), Jean Carlos Solorzano (62'), Rocky Visconte (85')