Finishing Touch Elusive for Victory

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A lack of clinical finishing from both sides resulted in the entertaining scoreless draw between the Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

Both sides created numerous opportunities in front of goal in a match where Quentin Tarantino would have been impressed with the amount of shots fired during the pulsating fixture.

Neither side enjoyed the accuracy accustomed to Tarantino’s fictional hit-men, as both were wasteful with their chances and failed to put the ball in the back of the net.

The lack of goals did not reduce the spectacle of the Jet’s first home game under new owner Nathan Tinkler in what proved to be a tightly contested and fast paced match.

A partisan crowd of 8652 Novocastrians turned up on a balmy night in the Hunter to cheer on the Jets after a turbulent week for the club.

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After a lively start by both sides, it was Victory’s Tom Pondeljak with the first real strike at goal.

His seventh minute swirling drive was well held by Jet’s custodian, Ben Kennedy.

Ruben Zadkovich responded for the Jets at the other end 20 seconds later with his thunderous drive cannoning off the crossbar to the disappointment of the local crowd.

The end to end action continued with both sides attacking each other at every opportunity.

Rodrigo Vargas did well to snuff out an opportunity for the Jets in the 10th minute after Sean Rooney broke quickly and whipped in a dangerous cross towards Labinot Haliti.

The combination of Marvin Angulo, Carlos Hernandez and Robbie Kruse provided some slick passing and penetration for the Victory as they built pressure on the Jets.

Angulo, handed a rare start by Ernie Merrick, had the Victory’s best chance of the first half, his 20th minute strike from just outside the 18 yard box narrowly going wide.

Robbie Kruse received the Victory’s second yellow card of the match after Surat Sukha was booked earlier for a professional foul on Zadkovich.

After being dispossessed cleverly by Topor-Stanley, Kruse clumsily cut down Jet’s elder statesman Kasey Wehrman from behind while trying to regain possession.

The Jets looked most dangerous down their right hand flank with Elrich and Abbas combining nicely at times to provide some dangerous ball in behind Victory’s defence.

Zadkovich rounded out the half after he picked up his fifth yellow of the campaign for a foul on a fast-breaking Angulo, ruling himself out for the Jet’s next match against Brisbane Roar.

The second half started in the same fashion as the first with Zadkovich blasting a shot over Michael Petkovic’s crossbar within the first minute.

The Jet’s appeared to settle the quicker out of the two sides, though it was the Victory that had the first clear cut chance of the half.

A fantastic cross-field pass from Pondeljak found Kruse on the right hand side, who controlled nicely and broke quickly at the Jet’s defence.

Kruse did well to stand up Topor-Stanley before finding an unmarked Hernandez inside the box.

Fortunately for the home side, Hernandez was unable to break his 10 game goal drought as he heaved his shot high and well into the Newcastle faithful.

The Victory proceeded to dominate possession for much of the second half, restricting the Jet’s play to a counter attacking style.

As the game wore on the Jets consistently coughed up cheap possession in the centre of the park.

Hernandez skewed a guilt-edge chance wide in the 65th minute, again linking up nicely with Kruse, who was a constant menace for the Jets.

The Victory’s Ricardinho fluffed the best goal scoring opportunity of the night after capitalising on a rare Jet’s defensive error.

The striker found himself one on one with Kennedy but failed to connect with his shot as he would have liked, the in-form keeper doing well to save low to his right.

Ljubo Milicevic led by example, sparking the Jet’s attack with some marauding runs up the park reminiscent of his days at FC Thun.

Substitute Sasho Petrovski nearly set up Elrich for a goal in 81st minute with a defence splitting pass, the Victory having Petkovic to thank for being off his line quickly after sensing the danger.

Kellaway was nearly the hero for the Victory after the substitute dragged his shot within inches of the bottom left corner after D’apuzzo gave away possession for the Jets.

The nil all score line did not reflect how entertaining the match was.

The match proved how much both sides are in dire need of an out an out goal scorer this year.

One could have imagined what the score line might have been had Archie Thompson and Joel Griffiths lined up for each side respectively.

Jet’s coach Branko Culina was happy to settle for a draw considering the forced changes to his line-up after his troops backed-up from their game against Gold Cost three nights earlier.

The Jets will have three weeks to regroup with their next scheduled match to take place on Saturday, October 16, at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium against the Brisbane Roar.

The Victory will have to pick themselves for their inaugural derby match against Melbourne Heart in two weeks time, rescheduled for Friday, October 8, at AAMI Park.

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