Photo: Jets soar to draw with Roar [PlessPix]
Newcastle Jets 1-1 Brisbane Roar
Brisbane Roar extended their lead at the top of the A-League ladder to 5 points over second-placed Adelaide United despite being held to a 1-1 draw away against 9th-placed Newcastle Jets at EnergyAustralia Stadium in Newcastle tonight.
Roar goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos saved his side on several occasions with fine saves, but he almost conceded a silly goal in the 14th minute.
With the ball at his feet, he delayed his clearance and allowed Francis Jeffers to dispossess him inside the penalty area. Jeffers tried to pass to a team-mate, by which time other defenders had got back and the chance went begging, much to the relief of an embarrassed Theoklitos.
In the 20th minute, Theoklitos came flying out of the penalty area to clear ahead of Jeffers and, although the ball hit his arm, referee Peter Green judged it not to have been deliberate handball.
Brisbane had a good chance a minute later, but Reinaldo, who had returned from suspension for this match, hit the ball straight at Jets keeper Ben Kennedy.
In the 24th minute, Theoklitos showed his true abilities when he produced a fine save from Ben Kantarovski’s chip from the left.
Reinaldo again shot straight at Kennedy in the 35th minute as the opening half proved goalless.
Eight minutes after the resumption, Kantarovski headed Newcastle in front from Kasey Wehrman’s corner from the right.
Brisbane are a very good side, however, and they kept up their tempo and Mitch Nichols was desperately unlucky not to equalise on the hour when his shot hit the post.
Newcastle were feeling the pressure and both Ruben Zadkovich and Ljubo Milicevic were booked within 5 minutes of each other. The yellow card rules Milicevic outof Newcastle’s next game, which is against Wellington Phoenix.
Substitute Jean Carlos Solorzano grabbed the equaliser 10 minutes from the end. Nichols’s superb diagonal pass from midfield to the right put Ivan Franjic away and he played the ball across the 6-yard box to the far post, where Solorzano knocked it into the net.
Newcastle protested that Franjic was off-side, but replays showed he wasn’t. Even Jets coach Branko Culina admitted after the game that there was no off-side and apologised for berating the officials.
This Brisbane side never gives in and continues to attack to the final whistle.
They were almost caught out 2 minutes from the end, however, when a Newcastle counter-attack resulted in Zadkovich’s fierce shot being turned against a post by the lightning-quick Theoklitos.
Newcastle Jets: Kennedy - Elrich, Milicevic, Topor-Stanley, D’Apuzzo - Kantarovski, Abbas, Wehrman, Zadkovich - Jeffers (Haliti 68), Jesic (Subs not used: Nash, Petrovski, Patafta)
Booked: Zadkovich 59, Milicevic 64
Goals: Kantarovski 53
Brisbane Roar: Theoklitos - Susak (Mundy 62), DeVere, Smith, Franjic -- Murdocca (Solorzano 62), Paartalu, Nichols - Barbarouses (Visconte 85), Reinaldo, Broich (Sub not used: Redmayne)
Goals: Solorzano 80
Ref: P Green