They have been banging in the goals all season and playing some eye-catching attacking football but Newcastle Jets’ defensive resolve was behind Friday night’s win over Brisbane Roar.
Jason Hoffman’s 11th minute goal was enough to hand the Jets a 1-0 win as they withstood a late flurry from the visitors to close within five points of league-leaders Sydney FC.
While it wasn’t their prettiest display of the season, it was a win that builds confidence and should dispel any questions over the side’s defensive strength.
After keeping Central Coast Mariners goalless in Tuesday’s F3 Derby, the shutout against Roar made –t back-to-back clean sheets for the first since March 2014, almost four years.
“We ground it out in the second half. I think we ran out of steam,” centre-back Nikolai Topor-Stanley said.
“That’s what happens when you have a 48-hour turnaround.
“We tried to still create but we couldn’t really get out of our half. We held on so credit to the boys.”
After a run of six games without a win against the Roar in the Hyundai A-League, the Jets have now won four of their last five against the Queensland club.
And most encouraging for coach Ernie Merrick, his side is turning McDonald Jones Stadium into a fortress again.
Almost 13,000 fans turned out on Friday night, with the Jets making it six wins from their last seven games on their home turf.
“We’ve tried to be positive all year,” Topor-Stanley said.
“We been playing some really great, free-flowing, attacking football and I think it’s showing with the amount of goals we’ve scored and the amount of chances we’ve created.
“The boys up front have been on fire. I’m pleased we got the win, we ground it out there but we made it hard for ourselves.
After playing two matches in three days, the Jets have an eight-day gap between their next clash, a home game against Wellington Phoenix next Saturday.