Why the Newcastle Jets should have won 3-0

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It was an exciting game to watch at Ausgrid Stadium on Saturday with the Newcastle Jets defeating Perth Glory 2-0 in front of over 13,000 fans. But it should have been three.

Realistically, it was never going to be anything but exciting. A new coach for the Jets in Gary Van Egmond meant new tactics, set-pieces and a new mentality for the team, who found themselves without a coach just three days before round one of the Hyundai A-League after Branko Culina’s shock sacking.

Perth Glory looked to be a worthy opponent and having won their first three matches of the season convincingly the wheels looked like they had fallen off the wagon against the Jets. Perth Glory coach Ian Ferguson suggested staying on the Central Coast for a week in between games in a hotel didn’t help their mental preparation, being away from their families and kids. But was it really only that? Or is that a cop out for a team that looked red-hot at the start of the season but is now fading like an old light globe.

Watching the game I grew increasingly frustrated with some of the decisions (or lack their of) the match referee Sebre Delovski made. There were two infringements which should have seen more severe punishments handed down to the players involved.

Firstly, there was the deliberate handball by Perth Glory right-back Josh Risdon in the 34th minute. After being beaten in a tackle by Newcastle Jets midfielder Tarek Elrich, Risdon used his hand to push the ball away from Elrich towards Glory’s end. Now, had Risdon not immaturely handled the ball when he had been beaten, Elrich would have gone one-on-one with the ‘keeper, meaning there was great potential for a Jets goal. Such an outcome would have well and truly put the game to bed, lifted the Jets’ confidence and undermined and questioned Glory’s position in the game.

Secondly, Delovksi was too lenient in only giving Risdon a yellow. Under “Law 12 -Fouls and Misconduct” outlined in the ‘Laws of the Game’ handbook for 2011/2012 he should have been sent off.

The handbook is essentially a rule book which outlines rules, regulations and sanctions to be adhered to by players, referees and match day officials. It states:

“A player is sent off, however, if he prevents a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball. This punishment arises not from the act of the player deliberately handling the ball but from the unacceptable and unfair intervention that prevented a goal being scored.”

But Risdon wasn’t sent off. He was handed a yellow which, granted, was an appropriate course of action for deliberately handling the ball. However, to my first point, his action denied Elrich the chance to go one-on-one with the ‘keeper. Isn’t that “unacceptable and unfair intervention that prevented a goal being scored”? Surely that warrants being sent off. If it doesn’t I’m unsure what does.

The second incident involved Perth’s marquee player Shane Smeltz and Jets defender Taylor Regan in the 63rd minute, an altercation which realistically should have seen Smeltz sent off and facing punishment from Football Federation Australia.

Just minutes after Smeltz’ dipping volley attempt on goal rebounded off the crossbar, undeniably frustrated, Smeltz led with his feet on a tackle on Regan, causing both players to fall to the ground. They both rose to their feet, and Smetlz delivered what can only be described as a ‘Liverpool kiss’ which involves a player intentionally head butting another.

Now instead of sending off Smeltz, the ref chose to issue both a yellow card and award a free kick to the Jets. Consequently, this decision by Delovski meant that Smeltz stayed on, the FFA match review committee are unable to take further action, and he will be available next weekend when Glory take on Sydney at home.

The Jets should have won 3-0. Whilst 2-0 isn’t bad for an afternoon’s work, these two decisive moments in the game would have handed the Jets a license to print their own money.

Disagree?

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