A Roy O’Donovan penalty spared Newcastle Jets’ blushes as they drew 1-1 with Perth Glory at Coffs International Stadium on Tuesday night.
O’Donovan proved to be Newcastle’s saviour as he made no mistake from the penalty spot to cancel out Joel Chianese’s opener.
Two sides struggling for inspiration in the final third did their best to chip away at each other in the first half but it was not until after the break that the game well and truly sprung to life.
Perth went ahead thanks to Chianese, who broke the deadlock with his first touch of the game just after the hour mark, after recently re-joining the club on loan from the Indian Super League.
The visitors’ lead was short lived as O’Donovan sent Liam Reddy the wrong way after Apostolos Stamatelopoulos was adjudged to have been fouled by Kosuke Ota.
The draw puts an end to the two side’s losing streaks however it does not ultimately change their positions on the A-League ladder as Glory remain in 10th spot with 18 points while Newcastle stay in 11th with 12 points from their 17 matches this season.
Within an instant it was Glory who were first to conjure up the first chance of the clash via Carlo Armiento whose effort was smartly kept out by Lewis Italiano with barely 60 seconds played.
The visitors’ bright start continued as Bruno Fornaroli put the Jets’ defence on notice when he drove at their backline before unleashing a venomous strike which was tipped over by Italiano.
Momentum soon switched and it was Newcastle who began to bring some cheer to the Coffs Harbour locals as the returning Jason Hoffman rounded Reddy in goal but couldn’t find the desired finish after being picked out by O’Donovan’s defence splitting through ball.
Only seconds later, Angus Thurgate thought he had broken the deadlock for Newcastle – however to his and his side’s dismay his effort struck the side-netting.
The home side remained on the upper foot as the first half wore on with O’Donovan the centre of attention on 32 minutes when his header rattled the post before going into touch following Reddy’s close range save from Ramy Najjarine’s header.
They continued to chip away at Perth’s defence and eventually produced the best chance of the first half as Lachlan Jackson’s back post header was denied by the Glory custodian following Najjarine’s delightful free kick from 30 yards out.
Almost straight from the restart in the second half, there was a case of déjà vu with Armiento yet again testing Italiano’s capabilities.
A higher energised Glory began to exert their footprint on proceedings and soon after clocking over five hours with a goal – they finally had cause to celebrate.
Their latest signing, Chianese tapped home from close range with what was basically his first touch after entering the action on the hour mark.
The on-loan Hyderabad midfielder was teed up by Andy Keogh who squared the ball from the bi-line for a straightforward finish.
The long-awaited Perth goal arrived as a welcome relief but the celebrations did not last long with Ota bringing down Stamatelopoulos in the box.
O’Donovan stepped up to successfully take the resulting spot kick, sending Reddy the wrong way as he rifled home into the back of the net.
The Jets now had the initiative as Luka Prso made himself a nuisance for Perth – manufacturing a flurry of opportunities, all of which failed to test Glory’s shot stopper.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the pitch it was Glory’s Uruguayan striker who was looking like his side’s best bet for a winner.
His signature curling shots from the edge of the 18-yard-area were sailing agonisingly close to Newcastle’s goal but were not enough to force a response from Italiano.
A chance at the death for Matt Millar almost caused a spectacular turnaround for Craig Deans’ side but the finish lacked composure as it blazed over the crossbar.
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