Jets sneak through

After being locked in a stalemate for 120 minutes, the Newcastle Jets have produced a dramatic 6-5 win on penalties to end Gold Coast United's season at Skilled Park on Saturday night.

After being locked in a stalemate for 120 minutes, the Newcastle Jets have produced a dramatic 6-5 win on penalties to end Gold Coast United's season at Skilled Park on Saturday night.

Jets keeper Ben Kennedy was a standout all night for Branko Culina's side, with his last-ditch save to deny Zenon Caravella the match-winner.

With the shootout locked at 5-5, Jin-Hyung Song blazed over for the Jets leaving the door open for Gold Coast defender Kristian Rees to secure the win.

But in a bizarre twist, Rees sent his shot wide and after Nikolai Topor-Stanley converted his spot-kick it was up to Caravella to keep the match alive.

Determined to send the Jets through, Kennedy dived to his left, getting a hand to Caravella's penalty and swatting the ball away.

The win means the Jets will now face the winner of Sunday's match between Wellington and Perth.

A further disappointment for the home side was the lack of support with only 4,109 fans turning up for the knockout final.

Gold Coast's usually slick passing game took a while to switch into gear during the early minutes of the match, however both teams looked genuinely intent on hitting the target with Ali Abbas and Caravella firing wide in the first 10 minutes.

With a cagey first 20 minutes out of the way, the men in yellow began to control the possession and Charlie Miller had the first shot on target in the 22nd minute with a relatively subdued effort from outside the Jets' area.

Just after Robson found his way into referee Matthew Breeze's book for handball, Miller was involved in the action again playing a great through ball into the path of Shane Smeltz.

With the Newcastle defence in no-man's land, Smeltz found himself on-side with plenty of time to put the ball away, but lacking his usual prowess in front of goal, Smeltz hesitated and Kennedy rushed off his line to claim the ball from the Kiwi international's feet.

Roaming just behind the United strikers and settling into a nice rhythm, Miller's next contribution was a lovely chip over the Newcastle lines to Joel Porter who managed to flick the ball over Kennedy, however with the ball looking goal bound Topor-Stanley was on hand to clear for the corner.

The Jets' best chance of the half fell to captain Matthew Thompson in the 38th minute when Abbas threaded the needle to Thompson in the box, but United custodian Jess Vanstrattan was alert and on hand to make the save.

Trying to break his six-game scoring drought, Smeltz had another dig at goal minutes later when Caravella played a neat ball to his feet, while the effort was low and hard, the path was straight at Kennedy in goal.

With play switching ends, Song then saw his left foot effort flash wide five minutes before time.

A solid Kennedy made sure the scores stayed level going into the break when he kept out a quickly-taken Gold Coast free-kick from just outside the area.

Emerging from the tunnel, the Jets looked to go on the attack early with Jobe Wheelhouse's ambitious drive from outside the area forcing Vanstrattan to tip over the bar.

Kennedy was still being kept busy at the other end, producing a great save to deny Joel Porter from close range after a scramble in the area.

Having the game of his life, Kennedy pulled off another great save in the 65th minute when Porter played Jason Culina into space.

Taking the ball in his stride as he streamed into the box, the United captain pulled the trigger but Kennedy held firm, desperate to keep the Jets in the game.

After a bright start to the second half, it took until the 83rd minute for goal to be threatened again with Porter heading second-half substitute Dino Djulbic's cross past the wrong side of the upright.

As the stalemate drew on, the full-time whistle was eventually blown and with the scores locked at 0-0 the knockout semi final moved into extra-time.

Anderson unleashed a low driven left-foot effort early in the piece for the home side, and with 10 minutes played Smeltz thought he had done enough when he manoeuvred in the box and fired low only to see the ball skid inches past the post.

Moments later a mistake from Anderson on the halfway line gifted Mirjan Pavlovic acres of space, but as the striker was heading towards goal, United defender Bas Van Den Brink made a great sliding tackle to clear the danger.

With Gold Coast desperate for the goal, Newcastle's rock between the posts made sure things stayed level, Kennedy pulling off a string of great saves firstly to deny James Brown and then Smeltz, after the All White's first attempt was cleared from the line by Tarek Elrich.

Starting the second half of extra time, Kennedy made another brilliant save to deny Smeltz who found time and space in the box.

But with little more action to come, the match's fate hinged on the outcome of the penalty shoot-out.

Gold Coast United 5 Newcastle Jets 6 Crowd: 4,109

@ Skilled Park