Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets have played out the second consecutive stalemate in Round 7 in a match that will leave both sides disappointed they didn’t take three points on Sunday.
The Jets dominated possession at Coopers Stadium but remarkably failed to register a shot on goal ensuring Adelaide’s returning skipper Eugene Galekovic had a quiet afternoon.
At the other end Craig Goodwin and James Jeggo both had strong chances to break the Reds’ winless start to the season but couldn’t find a way past the herculean Mark Birighitti.
The result, which was in stark contrast to the 7-0 drubbing the Reds dished out in the corresponding fixture last season, sees Newcastle stay fifth while Adelaide remain rooted to the foot of the ladder.
New Jets signing - and former Adelaide winger - Ryan Kitto made his Newcastle debut off the bench, while there were five players across the starting XI's who had also previously represented their opposition.
WHAT THEY SAID
“It’s frustrating, I thought we were the better team, we really pushed that second half but couldn’t find the opening so it’s disappointing in the end.” - Adelaide United’s Jimmy Jeggo
“It was a solid performance by the whole playing group. Adelaide is always tough place to come so to take a point back to Newcastle is a bonus for us.” - Newcastle Jets’ Mark Birighitti
The best chance of the first half fell to Craig Goodwin who found space down the right wing and was descending on goal. With a one-on-one chance with the goalkeeper beckoning Boogaard made a desperate sliding tackle to block the shot and snuff out the danger with authority.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
Adelaide earned 12 corners to 2 but failed to test Birighitti with their set-piece delievery.
Meanwhile the Jets were nowhere to be seen, failing to register a meaningful shot in attack.
Mark Birighitti has produced the most saves of any goalkeeper this season – despite missing one match through injury – and had to be at his best again to repel the Reds. The two best threats came off the boot of Jimmy Jeggo, with the Jets keeper producing acrobatic clutch saves on both occasions.
With the game just eight minutes old the Reds were forced into an early change with Osama Malik succumbing to a hamstring injury. Youngster Jordan Elsey was his replacement – making his first appearance in 593 days after being sidelined by a ruptured ACL last season. With Adelaide’s central defensive stocks already depleted by the departure of Nigel Boogaard they’ll be hoping Malik is not sidelined for an extended period.
The Jets skipper had his own injury troubles late on, forced off after receiving a heavy knock to warm applause from the Adelaide faithful.
THE FINAL WORD
Both sides came into this clash low on confidence after some indifferent performances in recent weeks and it showed with disjointed attacking raids rarely troubling either goalkeeper.
The Reds will feel they created the better chances but for all their huffing and puffing are still yet to notch a win this season.
The Jets thought they had grabbed a late winner after finding the back of the net from a free-kick but it was correctly ruled out for off-side.
The return of Eugene Galekovic grabbed the headlines in the lead up to this one but it was the saves from Mark Birighitti when called upon that really caught the eye.
Adelaide United: Galekovic (gk)(c), Marrone, McGowan, Malik (Elsey 7’), Elrich, Isaias, Mells (Carrusca 75’), Jeggo, Goodwin, Cirio, Djite (Kamau 65’)
Newcastle Jets: Birighitti (gk), Hoffman, Boogaard (c) (Kitto 82’), Jackson, Lee, Watson, Kantarovski, Poljak, Carney, Trifunovic (Crowley 87’), Alivodic
Red cards: nil
Yellow cards: Kantarovski 30’, Jeggo 45+1’, Trifunovic 53’, Elrich 89’
Conditions: 18°C, fine
Attendance: 10,048 at Coopers Stadium