Jets hold Gold Coast

The Newcastle Jets have held league leader Gold Coast United to a 0-0 draw in their National Youth League match at Adamstown Oval on Friday afternoon.

The Newcastle Jets have held league leader Gold Coast United to a 0-0 draw in their National Youth League match at Adamstown Oval on Friday afternoon.

Despite the first-versus-last status of the match, the Jets matched a strong Gold Coast United team in a physical encounter dominated by strong defensive displays by both sides.

The draw sees the Gold Coast extend their lead atop the National Youth League standings while the Jets move off the bottom of the table, climbing above Melbourne Victory on goal difference with the rest of the round to play.

The game started in ideal conditions and with immediate action as both sides had early goals disallowed for offside before both teams settled in for a hard-fought battle.

The Jets had the edge in attack in the first half as midfielders Kyle Ewart and Steven Velevski created chances for forwards Gavin Forbes and Fabian Iacovelli but the Gold Coast defence held firm, restricting the Newcastle attacks to long-range attempts. Down the other end Gold Coast winger Tahj Minniecon was creating plenty of headaches for the home side with some incisive bursts down the right flank and attempts to feed Chris Harold and Andrew Barisic in the middle of the park.

The Newcastle defence, marshalled by goalkeeper Neil Young, who was playing in his first game for over a year after a terrible time with injury and illness, comfortably kept the visitors at bay to see the sides head to the sheds locked 0-0 at half-time.

Gold Coast lost Andrew Barisic to a hamstring strain early in the second half and his replacement Daniel Bragg almost made an immediate impact, firing a curling shot from the edge of the area just outside the far post.

The visitors continued to press and went close on a couple of occasions. Harold just failed to get on the end of a dangerous Minniecon cross, before the Gold Coast striker pushed a shot wide from inside the area after he had pierced the Jets' defence.

Both teams made a host of changes on the hour mark and it was the Jets who worked their way back into the match via the enterprising Jesse Pinto in the midfield, who sent some dangerous balls into the box.

Minniecon, who had switched to the left wing, still looked dangerous for the visitors. He forced a good diving save from substitute Jets' goalkeeper Robbie Kolac in the 75th minute before being denied by some desperate defending from centre back Jon Griffiths a few moments later.

Kolac produced another good save to deny a late strike from Gold Coast substitute forward Robert Russell, before the Jets pressed late for a late winner but the visitors held out to force an entertaining draw.

Newcastle Jets 0 Gold Coast United 0 Adamstown Oval, Newcastle