More agony for Reds in Newcastle

Adelaide United FC’s finals hopes have taken another hit following a 1-0 loss to the Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium.

Adelaide United FC-s finals hopes have taken another hit following a 1-0 loss to the Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium.

A 39th minute Tarek Elrich strike was all that separated the teams and was all it took to condemn the Reds to a tenth loss of the season and leave them with only a slight mathematical chance of sneaking into the top six with four games remaining.

Both teams managed just one shot on target for the night but it was the one from the Jets that decided the contest and kept the three points in Newcastle.

Desperately needing three points to stay in touch with the top six, it was another tough night at the office for United, Coach John Kosmina saying it pretty much summed up the Reds- 2011/12 campaign.

“We made a silly mistake at a crucial moment in the game and we got punished for it and that-s seems to be the story of our season so far,” Kosmina said.

“We play well enough to win games, we get into good enough areas to finish the opposition off or make more of it and we-re not incisive enough and then we got to the other end of the park and somebody gets pulled out of shape or someone panics or doesn-t control the ball and you get punished for it.”

On how the Reds have found themselves in their current predicament, Kosmina referred to their inability to take any points from their past three home games as a key reason for the frustration that the players are feeling.

“It hurts and so it should, they-re paying well enough to win games,” Kosmina said.

“You look at last week (against Sydney), it hurt badly…and it-s the games at home - we could of finished Perth off early and we didn-t, we should-ve finished Wellington off and we didn-t and we should-ve beaten Sydney last week and we didn-t, and they-re the ones that have killed us.”

Apart from a Sergio van Dijk effort on the volley which found the side netting in the 10th minute and a couple of other half chances, the Reds could not crack a well organised and disciplined Jets defence in the opening exchanges.

Kosmina was forced to make an early substitution in just the 19th minute, youngster Jacob Melling introduced for Francisco Usucar, the Uruguayan off with what appeared to be a hamstring problem he incurred during a tackle on Ryan Griffiths.

Then in the 39th minute the Reds- defensive woes continued when they were exposed by the English Premier League experience of Francis Jeffers.

The former Arsenal forward picked out Elrich in space in the penalty area and after a quick first touch he sent his shot across Eugene Galekovic and into the net, leaving the Reds needing to again come from behind.

With the game slowly slipping away from the Reds- grasp, Kosmina injected Bruce Djite for Melling in the 66th minute but still United was struggling to find a crack the Jets- armour.

Evgeniy Levchenko sent a free kick from a dangerous position harmlessly into the wall in the 75th minute on what was shaping as another fruitless night in front of goal.

With their season hanging by a thread, the Reds went close to salvaging a point in the final minute of injury time, van Dijk forcing a diving save from Ben Kennedy before a Djite header from the ensuing corner flew just over the bar.

The Reds now have a quick turnaround with Perth Glory heading to Hindmarsh for a game on Thursday 1 March before a trip to Uzbekistan for the club-s opening game of the AFC Champions League against Bunyodkor on March 6.

“We-ve got Perth on Thursday and I-m still confident we can win that game at home because we-re due a win at home just by the sheer law of averages, and then we-re off to Uzbekistan, so maybe things will turn for us over there and then we can come back and beat Brisbane and win the last two games,” an optimistic Kosmina said.

Match Details Newcastle Jets 1 (Elrich 39-) Adelaide United FC 0 Referee: Ben Williams Crowd: 10,383 @ Hunter Stadium

Newcastle Jets line-up: 1.Ben Kennedy (gk), 4.Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 5.Tiago Calvano, 6.Ben Kantarovski (2.Taylor Regan 52-), 8.Jeremy Brockie, 10.Ruben Zadkovich, 11.Tarek Elrich (22.Ali Abbas 71-), 13.Byun, 23.Ryan Griffiths (c), 24.Francis Jeffers (9.Michael Bridges 79-), 25.Jacob Pepper

Substitutes not used: 19.Matthew Nash (gk) Yellow Cards: Zadkovich 57-, Regan 85-, Bridges 90+2- Red Cards: Nil

Adelaide United line-up: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 6.Cassio, 8.Evgeniy Levchenko, 9.Sergio van Dijk, 10.Dario Vidosic (7.Zenon Caravella 73-), 14.Cameron Watson, 17.Iain Ramsay, 18.Fabian Barbiero, 21.Francisco Usucar (15.Jacob Melling 19- (11.Bruce Djite 67-))

Substitutes not used: 38.John Hall (gk) Yellow Cards: Levchenko 13-, Melling 56- Red Cards: Nil