Sydney FC have continued their dominance over Newcastle Jets with Alex Brosque’s last-minute header earning the Sky Blues a 1-0 win at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.
A dour arm-wrestle looked headed for a goalless draw until Brosque planted a superb header in at the far post from a corner.
The Sydney skipper had just minutes earlier been denied by the post with a powerful low drive.
But the home side will feel a little hard done by after a first-half goal to Jason Hoffman was controversially ruled out for offside.
What they said
“We really needed the three points. We dug deep it was a tough game but it was an important three points. The fact we’re having so mny shots is good but we really need to convert them.” – Sydney skipper Alex Brosque
0-1 Brosque (89’) – Some slack defending by the Jets at a corner allowed Brosque make a free run to the near post and he produce a perfect glancing header to beat Ben Kennedy.
The Jets will feel aggrieved not to have taken the lead nine minutes before half-time. Leonardo’s free-kick found an unmarked Jason Hoffman at the far post with the defender planting a superb header into the far corner before wheeling off in celebration. But the goal was ruled out for offside, with replays suggesting Hoffman was – at worst – in line with the last defender. The decision would prove costly at the death.
Opta Data key stats
The late wins means Sydney FC has now gone 16 games unbeaten on the road during the Hyundai A-League regular season, a record for the competition. The Sky Blues have also stretched their unbeaten run against the Jets to eight games, while Newcastle still hasn’t won in front of their home fans in 2015.
Sydney defender Seb Ryall may have caught the ire of coach Graham Arnold for a blatant dive in the box as he surged towards goal. Ryall was rightly booked for going to ground so easily and may hhave even had a goal-scoring chance had he stayed on his feet instead of throwing himself to the ground.
Jets winger Labinot Haliti lasted just 14 minutes before he was forced off with a knee injury, sustained in a tackle with Jacques Faty. Jets keeper Mark Birighitti also didn’t finish the match, taken off with blood streaming from his face after copping a beat to the head in a challenge with Shane Smeltz.
The Final Word
Scott Miller’s mission to make the Jets hard to beat is so far on track – despite the late defeat - producing their second solid defensive performance in as many weeks. They’ll need to keep that going with champions Melbourne Victory heading to the Hunter on Friday night.
The Sky Blues will be relieved to have got off the mark for the season ahead of next Saturday night’s massive local derby against Western Sydney Wanderers at Allianz.
Newcastle Jets: Birighitti (Kennedy 78’), Hoffman, Mullen, Kantarovski, Carney, Watson, Poljak, Alivodic, Leonardo (Cooper 79’), Haliti (Lundy 15’), Trifunovic
Sydney FC: Janjetovic, Ryall, Faty, Jurman, Grant (Gersbach 57’), O’Neill, Dimitrijevic (Tavares 70’), Ninkovic, Naumoff (57’), Smeltz, Brosque
Scorers: Brosque 89’
Red cards: Nil
Yellow cards: Kantarovski 44’, Ryall 55’
Conditions: 23C, Partly cloudy
Attendance: 12,173 @ Hunter Stadium