AIS edge out Jets

The AIS narrowly defeated a defiant Newcastle Jets outfit 3-2 in their round 20 National Youth League match at the AIS Athletics Track on Saturday afternoon.

The AIS narrowly defeated a defiant Newcastle Jets outfit 3-2 in their round 20 National Youth League match at the AIS Athletics Track on Saturday afternoon.

When Jesse Makarounas nailed his hat-trick from the penalty spot in the 52nd minute it looked like the AIS were coasting to victory, but they were extremely lucky to come away with the three points in the end.

Newcastle scored two second half goals before having some hot chances go begging late.

In a frantic finish, AIS debutant goalkeeper Luke Kairies had his hands full, before Makarounas blew his chance for a fourth goal when he shot over the bar when he had an open net at his mercy.

In the last minute of regular time Jets substitute Michael Finlayson had his close range shot tipped over the bar, and then in extra time Nathan Millgate-s shot careered into the right hand post when he had an open goal, albeit from a tight angle.

It was a match which began with the ball locked in the midfield early as both teams tried to find their feet.

The AIS hit the front early but it was a goal where they made something out of nothing.

Yianni Perkatis took the ball in his attacking half, passed long to Hernan Espindola out wide and he tore down the line and crossed into Makarounas who had one shot blocked, followed up and was down on down on one knee after a second challenge and somehow managed to toe-poke it in with his left foot.

The AIS didn-t have to wait long for their second.

After his initial close range shot was parried into the air by Neil Young, Makarounas followed it up with a header across goal into the left hand net.

Late in the first half the Jets had a host of chances.

The best of those was a Jesse Pinto strike in the 35th minute, driving a long shot which flew centimetres past the left post after Kairies got his fingertips on it.

Then it was Kyle Ewar latched onto a bouncing ball and smashed a cracking volley on target, but Kairies was up to the task with a superb diving save which put a smile on the youngster-s face.

The match looked over when Makarounas scored his third, converting a penalty in the 52nd minute after Perkatis was brought down by Young as they were both vying for the ball close to goal.

But from then on it was a completely different game as Newcastle finished the game all guns blazing.

Firstly Jobe Wheelhouse curled a precision free kick around the AIS wall and inside the right post, and then they were right back in the game, a handball in the box giving Veleski a chance from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute and he made no mistake.

But it wasn-t to be, the AIS just holding on for three points that could have very easily slipped away.

AIS 3 (Makarounas 17m, 22m, 52m pen) Newcastle 2 (Wheelhouse 66m, Veleski 72m pen)