Sergio van Dijk’s sixth goal in five games was not enough for Adelaide United FC to get past the Newcastle Jets in Bathurst.
Sergio van Dijk-s sixth goal in five games was not enough for Adelaide United FC to get past the Newcastle Jets as the teams fought out a 1-1 draw in Bathurst.
Van Dijk put the Reds ahead with a clinical finish in the 57th minute but Jets substitute Jobe Wheelhouse came up with one of his own to draw Newcastle level.
On a more than satisfactory pitch surface, Carrington Park failed to prove the happiest hunting ground for both sides as they were forced to be content with sharing the spoils in game that was seen as a ‘six pointer-. The Reds created enough chances to press their advantage home but again the back of the net eluded them.
Making his first start since November, Iain Ramsay was a livewire down the left hand side, his combination with left back Antony Golec proving a main avenue for many of the Reds- attacks throughout the 90 minutes.
Attacking Jets midfielder Labinot Haliti had the first sighter of the match after 12 minutes when he forced Eugene Galekovic to save low down to his right before Ramsay struck a first time volley over the bar less than a minute later at the other end.
Fabian Barbiero then had a quality opportunity after a build up involving van Dijk and Bruce Djite, but he also flashed his shot well over the target.
The Reds had six corners in the first half an hour but they could not make the most of could not make the them count as they tried to cut through the Newcastle defence.
Golec found van Dijk with some rare space in the penalty area, however the Dutchman-s radar was not quite there as he directed his header straight at Jets keeper Ben Kennedy.
Then just before half time Galekovic saved Cameron Watson from blushing when the defender-s back pass was easily picked off by Haliti, the Reds keeper producing a fine save to leave scores level at the break.
Osama Malik almost instigated the breakthrough when he released Djite down the right but his pass had a little too much on it, giving Kennedy a chance to come out and block the striker-s effort.
Still searching for the game-s opening goal, it came in the 57th minute when Ramsay did well to keep his feet as he neared the byline after dispossessing Ruben Zadkovich, giving himself time to pick out van Dijk lurking just outside the edge of the six yard box and the Dutchman rammed the ball past Kennedy.
However, 15 minutes later it was 1-1 when Zadkovich worked his way into the penalty area down the right before pinpointing the run of Wheelhouse, who was in just enough space to send the ball into the back of the net.
The equaliser seemed to invigorate the Jets and the Reds were forced to dig deep to ensure they did not go behind, Galekovic positioning himself perfectly to keep out a Michael Bridges free kick in injury time.
With youngsters Jacob Melling and Teeboy Kamara, along with holding midfielder Francisco Usucar on the bench, Reds coach John Kosmina chose not to utilise his subs as the pressure and desperation of the game intensified towards its finale.
Nigel Boogaard almost stole the win at the death from a Dario Vidosic corner, but his header just missed the target, the only thing the five minutes of injury time producing for the Reds being four yellow cards.
In assessing his team-s performance and reflecting on the result, which lifts the Reds up one place on the table going into the Week 17 matches of the Hyundai A-League, Kosmina remained upbeat.
“I think we did enough to win the game tonight. We got into some great areas and probably didn-t make enough of the territory or the possession,” Kosmina said.
“I thought it (the character) was fantastic. Like I said before, I think we got forward into some great areas and some of the football we played was good. We stopped Newcastle playing, they got on top of us a little bit towards the end but you bring on a couple of subs who have actually played in the English Premier League (Jeffers and Bridges) and it makes a hell of a difference.”
Kosmina also defended his decision not to use any of his three substitutions during a match that became tenser the longer it went.
“We had a couple of really young guys (Meling and Teeboy), and Pancho is a bit one dimensional in terms that I could flatten across the midfield whether we lose Dario for example, we lose our shape, so I look at a 15 year old and a 16 year old and to throw them in at that sort of stage was maybe asking a bit too much, and on the other side of it, we-ve got to toughen these guys that are on the field up a bit so they have to get through 90 minutes.”
After three games on the road, the Reds return home for a showdown with Perth Glory at Hindmarsh Stadium on Sunday. Kick-Off is at 4.30pm ACDT and tickets are available through Ticketek.
Match Details Adelaide United FC 1 (van Dijk 57-) Newcastle Jets 1 (Wheelhouse 72-) Referee: Alan Milliner @ Carrington Park, Bathurst
Adelaide United line-up: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 5.Daniel Mullen, 9.Sergio van Dijk, 10.Dario Vidosic, 11.Bruce Djite, 12.Antony Golec, 14.Cameron Watson, 17.Iain Ramsay, 18.Fabian Barbiero
Substitutes not used: 15.Jacob Melling, 20.Mark Birighitti (gk) 21.Francisco Usucar, 24.Teeboy Kamara Yellow Cards: Barbiero 45-, Malik 90-, Boogaard 90+1-, Galekovic 90+2-, Mullen 90+3- Red Cards: Nil
Newcastle Jets line-up: 1.Ben Kennedy (gk), 2.Taylor Regan, 4.Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 5.Tiago Calvano, 6.Ben Kantarovski, 8.Jeremy Brockie (9.Michael Bridges 73-), 10.Ruben Zadkovich, 11.Tarek Elrich (12.Jobe Wheelhouse 58-), 14.Labinot Haliti (21.Francis Jeffers 62-), 18.Marko Jesic, 23.Ryan Griffiths
Substitutes not used: 19.Matthew Nash (gk) Yellow Cards: Tiago 65- Red Cards: Nil