O’Donovan scores for Jets but Toivonen salvages draw for Victory
Roy O’Donovan scored his first goal since returning to Newcastle Jets as they had to settle for a 1-1 draw in an entertaining clash with Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.
O’Donovan scored midway through a first half which was dominated by the Hunter club in what was a first home game for new coach Carl Robinson.
Victory improved after the break and hit back through Ola Toivonen to continue their excellent recent record against the Jets which has now seen them lose just one of the last six encounters.
But the result won’t do anything to improve the finals hopes of either club who were desperate for three points to get their campaigns off life support.
Robinson will be disappointed his side couldn’t build on their impressive first-half showing, although the Jets have now gone four games without a loss.
And there was a huge positive with star recruit Wes Hoolahan playing the last 30 minutes in his Hyundai A-League debut after a serious foot injury.
For Victory, they have now gone six games in a row without a win in the Hyundai A-League and with nine points between themselves and sixth-place Brisbane Roar, will need to produce something special to reach the Finals Series.
Oh-no for Arroyo as Jets make strong start
The first 20 minutes belonged to the Jets and their striker Abdiel Arroyo had the ball in the back of the net twice without reward.
The first time the Panamanian international produced a brilliant flick over Lawrence Thomas only for the goal to be disallowed as Angus Thurgate’s pass had struck the referee in the build-up.
Soon after Arroyo then nodded in Dimitri Petratos’ cross but the goal was correctly ruled out for offside.
O’Donovan fires Jets in front after VAR intervention
A wonderful move from the Jets ends with Petratos surging free down the right before squaring to O’Donovan in the middle who had made a brilliant near-post run.
The Irishman got to the ball first and poked it towards goal, with the ball hitting the underside of the bar, hitting the ground and bouncing away before the Victory defence cleared.
But replays showed the ball had crossed the line and the VAR intervened to award the goal and give O’Donovan his first goal since returning to the Hunter.
Petratos keeps Thomas on his toes
The Jets were keen to double their advantage before the break and almost did if not for a smart save from Victory gloveman Lawrence Thomas.
After a driving run into the box by O’Donovan, he laid the ball off to Petratos on the edge of the box and the attacker had one thing on his mind.
Petratos let fly with a powerful effort which stung the palms of Thomas as he parried it away to safety.
The skipper delivers again for Victory
What Carlos Salvachua said to his side at the break had an effect as Victory came out breathing fire to start the second half.
And just four minutes in they were level with another telling contribution from the captain.
Tim Hoogland whipped a delicious cross to the far post where Toivonen was waiting with the simple task to nod a header in from close range.
Inches wide by Petratos
Bobby Burns won a free-kick in a dangerous position just outside the box on the hour-mark, with Petratos keen to try his luck.
He struck his shot sweetly to get it up and over the wall but the ball sailed just wide of the post with Thomas scrambling across his line.
Rojas almost steals it
With the clock ticking towards the end of stoppage-time, Kiwi international Marco Rojas almost won it for Victory.
Sent clear from a clever pass from Toivonen, Rojas was one-on-one with Lewis Italiano but the Jets keeper stayed big to block the host and salvage a point for the home side.
SATURDAY REPORT: Late Gillesphey goal hands Roar a hard-earned point against Perth
FRIDAY REPORT: Wanderers ignite finals hopes in seven-goal thriller with Reds
FRIDAY REPORT: Phoenix move into third spot as Western United crumble
Newcastle Jets v Perth Glory
Saturday, 29 February
McDonald Jones Stadium
Kick-off: 5pm AEDT
Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United
Saturday, 29 February
Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT