Jets ground Reds to keep season alive

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The Newcastle Jets have kept their slim A-League finals hopes alive with a heart-stopping 2-0 victory over Adelaide United at Hunter Stadium.

A 90th-minute goal from Adam Taggart sealed the victory for the hosts after Joel Griffiths opened the scoring in the first half to give Jets fans a flicker of hope that their season could extend for another week.

The win moved the Jets up to 36 points level with sixth-placed Sydney but need the Sky Blues to lose to Perth Glory on Sunday afternoon by two or more goals to sneak into the finals on goal difference.

But if the Jets took their chances against Adelaide it could be a far simpler equation.

Adam Taggart and Nick Ward squandered golden opportunities in the second half to extend Newcastle’s advantage and in hindsight it could prove costly if Perth do manage to knock over Sydney on Sunday.

Had the Jets won by three goals they simply would need Perth to beat Sydney but their inferior goals scored column means they need the Glory to cause a huge boilover and win by two goals away from home.

Despite admitting it will be a minor miracle for the Jets to make the playoffs, coach Clayton Zane remained positive about the result regardless if it could be their last match for the season.

“Yeah it was a funny game, early in the second half it was backs against the wall, there was 15-20 minutes there where we couldn’t get hold of the ball,” he said.

“Credit to our players, they didn’t stop, they kept pushing forward, we always looked a threat on the counter attack and from a game that we were hanging onto it could have easily been 3 or 4 nil.”

Zane believed his side only have themselves to blame for putting themselves in a dog fight for a place in the finals but was pleased to at least give themselves a chance of making the top six.

“We could have got that third goal and really piled the pressure onto Sydney but I think already now there will be that element of doubt which will be in the back of their minds,” he said.

“Jobs half done because we’re relying on another one and we shouldn’t put ourselves in this position where we have to rely on that one, but we could only do what we set out to do tonight.”

Adelaide boss Josep Gombau was surprisingly upbeat about the Reds performance and suggested if they had taken their chances it could have been a very different contest.

“The performance I am satisfied that we played a good game its just we couldn’t find the net. We created chances, I think if we scored with one of these the game can change,” he said.

“I am satisfied with the way the team played, we took a risk in the second half, we played three at the back because we tried to score goals to try to win the game.”

Newcastle Jets: 1. Mark Birighitti (gk), 4. Kew Jaliens, 5.Ben Kantarovski, 8. Ruben Zadkovich (c), 9. Emile Heskey, 11. Craig Goodwin, 14. Josh Mitchell, 15. Josh Brillante, 16. Jacob Pepper, 19. Michael Bridges, 21. Sam Gallaway, 20. Ben Kennedy (gk), 22. Adam Taggart, 23. David Carney, 24. Mitch Oxborrow, 27. Nick Ward, 29. Joel Griffiths

Adelaide United: 1. Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 3. Nigel Boogaard, 5. Osama Malik, 7. Jeronimo, 8. Isaias, 9. Sergio Cirio, 10. Marcelo Carrusca, 11. Bruce Djite, 14. Cameron Watson, 16. Daniel Bowles, 17. Awer Mabil, 18. Michael Zullo, 20. Paul Izzo (gk), 21. Tarek Elrich, 22. Fabio Ferreira, 23. Jordan Elsey, 25. Ryan Kitto, 32. Nathan Konstandopoulos

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