Newcastle Jets coach Scott Miller declared Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium a ‘superb day’ for his club, which snapped a worrying recent trend of late-game lapses by resolutely withstanding the Reds’ barnstorming finish.
Last week the Jets allowed 10-man Central Coast Mariners to score a stoppage-time goal to force a draw, while the previous round, Newcastle conceded two goals in the last 11 minutes of regulation to fritter away an earlier 1-0 advantage.
Adelaide came agonisingly close to scoring on numerous occasions but the Jets defence was up to the task every time.
“Overall, for a club like Newcastle, in the situation we’ve found ourselves over the last couple of years, I think a point away from home is a superb effort,” Miller said.
“The last two weeks we’d all agree that our workrate in and out of possession wasn’t there.
“To have a clean sheet and come away with a point from a club like Adelaide … I think it’s a superb day.
“The purpose of any game is to win but considering the past two weeks where we’ve conceded late, I thought to buck that trend today and really action that pressurised environment and see out a game was important.
“I’m very pleased with the group because culturally we’re here to rebuild the club.
“Events like today and seeing out a game in the last 2-3 mins like that is vital.”
Mark Birighitti was exceptional in goals against his old side, denying Craig Goodwin in the 45th minute with skilful reflexes and twice thwarting Jimmy Jeggo in the second half with serious acrobatics.
Meanwhile another ex-Red, first-year Newcastle skipper Nigel Boogaard, stood tall at centre back in his first venture to Hidnmarsh since leaving Adelaide, but his afternoon ended on a sour note when he limped off the park in the 82nd minute.
“In the first half he got a knock to the back of his knee that we were concerned with at half-time,” Miller said.
“Nigel, being the leader he is, carried on.
“From what I understand it was his ankle later on that he got another knock – a direct knock followed by a slight twist.
“As Nigel has shown you guys (Adelaide) over the years, he’ll be resilient and he’ll recover.”
Newcastle, last year’s wooden spooner, occupies fifth position on the A-League table and Miller sees the glass half-full in terms of where the Jets are at.
“One point off Sydney FC and undefeated on the road - that gives us a good idea where we’re at,” he said confidently.
“The focus away from home has to be reflected at Hunter Stadium with the next challenge, (top-of-the-table) Brisbane Roar (this Saturday).”