Newcastle Jets have wasted the opportunity to return to the Hyundai A-League top six after being held to a 1-1 draw against Central Coast Mariners at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
A first-half strike from Finn Aleksandr Kokko – his first for the club – gave the Jets the lead before Scott Galloway earned Central Coast a point with a fine goal at the start of the second half.
In blustery conditions, Newcastle survived an early scare with debutant goalkeeper Tomislav Arcaba dispossessed just outside the area but Mariners winger Kwabena Appiah couldn’t take advantage.
The Jets settled and took the lead midway through the opening stanza with powerful striker Aleksandr Kokko firing home a close-range header for his maiden goal in the Hyundai A-League.
Central Coast worked their way into the clash and went close with Fabio Ferreira, Connor Pain and Nick Montgomery all going close just prior to the break.
The visitors continued to dictate proceedings after the break and netted a deserved equaliser just five minutes after the restart with Scott Galloway netting a well-taken strike.
Central Coast grew in confidence and almost grabbed the lead with Fabio Ferreira forcing Jets keeper Tomislav Arcaba into a stunning save from a powerful long-range strike.
The game opened up as the second half progressed with both sides creating chances but a lack of cutting edge proved decisive as the match ended all square.
1-0 Newcastle Jets: Aleksandr Kokko, 20’
Jason Hoffman slipped Morten Nordstrand in behind before the Dane whipped in an inviting cross with Kokko rising highest to bury a close-range header.
1-1 Central Coast Mariners: Scott Galloway, 50’
Newcastle failed to deal with a Mariners corner before a loose ball spilled to Galloway on the edge of the area with the fullback unleashing a sweetly timed strike into the bottom left corner.
-The 1-1 result between the teams is the sixth consecutive draw Newcastle and Central Coast have played out at McDonald Jones Stadium.
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