Newcastle Jets boss Phil Stubbins says his much-improved side will learn from their heart-breaking 4-3 loss to Sydney FC at Hunter Stadium on Friday night.
The Jets pushed Graham Arnold’s men in an absorbing contest and looked to have earned a point when Andrew Hoole netted from the spot with less than 15 minutes remaining.
But Sydney FC rallied and found a winner in the final 10 minutes, with substitute Robert Stambolziev netting from close range to secure the three points for the visitors.
“In terms of fighting, it was a great effort from the boys. There’s certainly a lot to be proud of there, we lost the game in a way if you do lose, you want to lose it that way,” Stubbins said.
“We played a magnificent team I have to say. To get it back to 3-3 and to make it anyone’s game against a class outfit, it’s a credit to all of the players in there."
The Jets conceded three times in eight minutes at the start of the second half, with Sky Blues skipper Alex Brosque netting a brace either side of a Bernie Ibini strike.
Stubbins admitted his troops failed to switch-on following the restart but hailed his side’s ability to fight their way back into the contest.
“They turned it up and we didn’t turn up. That was the problem for us. That period of 10 minutes is something we’d like to forget and put to one side but it’s something we can learn from,” he said.
“For us to fight back like we did and play some fantastic football, is a great sign and there is real hope there.
"It’s a great experience for my players. I won’t be going in there and having a go at anyone. Perhaps on another night we could have got the three points."
Stubbins also singled out the performance of two-goal hero Brosque, who has now scored four-goals in his last two matches for the Sky Blues.
“Alex Brosque I think at the moment is probably the best footballer in Australia. Without putting pressure on the kid but I thought he was outstanding tonight.”