A rejuvenated Newcastle Jets outfit have broken their season duck with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Sunday.
A rejuvenated Newcastle Jets outfit have survived some tense moments in the dying stages to break their season duck with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium on Sunday.
Two strikes either side of the half-time interval, through Kew Jaliens and Adam Taggart respectively, enabled the Jets to build the foundation on which they earned their triumph.
The Reds stole the momentum late and got one back courtesy of a nice Fabio Ferreira nod in the 71st minute but they found it an impossible task to steal a last-ditch injury-time draw with just 10 men after Nigel Boogaard's 90th-minute red carding.
Newcastle were pinned back late but for the most part bossed proceedings.
Former Red Nathan Burns conjured a wonderful tackle to upset Tarek Elrich's charge for goal in the ninth minute, before two prime Jets opportunities went begging.
Adam Taggart didn't quite get enough meat on an open header on the back of a Newcastle free kick, the nod safely pouched by Adelaide custodian Eugene Galekovic.
Then barely a minute later, Burns miscued a sitter from point-blank range as Elrich pulled off a remarkable goal-saving block from less than a metre with Galekovic well out of position.
In the 15th minute Jeronimo Neumann found some space and forced Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti into a fine reflex one-on-one save.
At the other end, the visitors played the ball into the box where Andrew Hoole headed it down. The diving Galekovic was out of the contest but Nigel Boogaard forced a fine goal-line clearance as both teams' defensive units earned their keep.
After an even opening half hour, the remainder of the first half was played on Newcastle's terms with the home side regularly pinned on their heels in their back third.
In the 34th minute, Burns drew his opponent and rifled a nice-looking shot which Galekovic tapped over the post.
Following a series of dangerous near misses, the Jets finally broke through in the 40th minute through Jaliens.
A deep Burns corner found Scott Neville at the back post. Neville's header was stopped on the line by Michael Zullo but this time the clearance went only as far as Jaliens and the Dutchman ambled in for an easy goal, with Galekovic already out of position.
The Jets thoroughly deserved their 1-0 half-time lead, which they doubled shortly after resumption.
Streaming forward on the counterattack after Steven Lustica, who was substituted on to commence the second half, was dispossessed, Hoole played the ball in to Taggart, who deftly scooped it over the closing Galekovic, the ball bouncing through for the Jets' second goal.
The home fans finally had something to cheer about in the 63rd minute with the double-sub introduction of favourite sons Cassio and Bruce Djite and the faithful were on their feet eight minutes later when Ferreira goaled to halve the deficit.
Jeronimo delivered a searching cross to Ferreira, who produced a fine header at the back post to make it 2-1.
The Reds, lacklustre and error-prone for the best part of an hour, suddenly appeared reinvigorated.
They almost levelled proceedings in the 83rd minute when Birighitti somehow deflected Jeronimo's follow-up inside the goal line after the Argentine's first bite of the cherry was blocked.
The hosts were charging home hard but were dealt a lethal blow when Boogaard was given his marching orders on the cusp of the 90-minute mark for his challenge on flailing marquee Jet Emile Heskey, undermining Adelaide's five-minute stoppage time bid to equalise.
Adelaide United 1 (Ferreira 71) Newcastle Jets 2 (Jaliens 40, Taggart 52) Crowd: 10,244 @ Coopers Stadium, 9/11/2013