Sky Blues, Jets waste chances
But the Sky Blues will be ruing their luck after Marc Janko’s scorching volley in the first half – which would have been one of the goals of the season – was incorrectly ruled out for offside.
It was the same old story as the last month for Graham Arnold’s side who were easily the better team in the first half but just couldn’t take their chances before the Jets picked up after the break and also went close to stealing all three points.
WHAT THEY SAID
"It’s been the story of our season, we’ve been under the pump for a fair bit but the boys defended well and we got our first clean sheet of the season. It’s a positive for us and it’s a decent result away from home to get the draw.” – Jets goalkeeper Ben Kennedy
“We threw everything, had a lot of chances, there was some good saves, we hit the post, there’s not much else we could have done but score a goal. It’s really eluding us at the moment. A lot of it's luck, we had a lot at the start of the season but it’s going against us now.” – Sydney skipper Alex Brosque
Sydney ‘keeper Vedran Janjetovic was rarely called upon in the first 55 minutes but a sloppy error by the gloveman almost presented the Jets with a simple goal. Janjetovic looked like he would claim a David Carney corner easily, but the ball slipped through his hands, which gave Adrian Madaschi a glorious chance to score. The defender nodded the ball towards goal from just six yards out but Brosque was back on the line to head it clear.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
Sydney FC’s seven-game winless run is their worst since the start of the 2010-11 season. Arnold’s side have also gone more than six hours without scoring a goal, their last one coming in the 3-3 draw with Melbourne Victory. Newcastle, who have the worst defence in the A-League, managed to keep their first clean sheet of the season.
We know Janko has the ability to score some cracking goals but he outdid himself 12 minutes before the break. Picked out at the far post by Aaron Calver’s cross, Sydney’s marquee man hit a stunning first-time volley which went like a tracer-bullet past a despairing Kennedy into the far corner of the net. It was a strike befitting any of the best leagues around the world but unfortunately incorrectly ruled out for offside. While it didn’t count on the scoreboard it was a superb display of technique and power and brought the big crowd in Wollongong to their feet.
Jets striker Jeronimo appeared to dislocate his left shoulder when sliding in for a tackle with just eight minutes left. The club doctor managed to pop it back in almost immediately and given Newcastle had already made all three subs, the Argentine bravely played out the last few minutes in some discomfort.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
Jets boss Phil Stubbins made the surprise call to leave leading scorer Edson Montano on the bench, deploying Jeronimo as the lone striker. While Jeronimo has speed and quality, he lacks the same physical presence as the Ecuadorian, meaning Newcastle struggled to maintain possession when they went forward early and direct. As a result the Jets were forced to soak up loads of pressure, especially in the first half.
THE FINAL WORD
Both sides will welcome the three-week break for the Asian Cup to give themselves a chance to regroup, bolster their squads and look to make a charge towards the finals in the second half of the season. Sydney FC have a trip to the Central Coast to play the Mariners on resumption on January 24, while the Jets travel to Adelaide on the same day.
Sydney FC: Janjetovic, Calver, Ryall, Petkovic, Gersbach, Triantis, Grant (Naumoff 77’), Ibini, Dimitrijevic, Brosque, Janko
Newcastle Jets: Kennedy, Jaliens, Madaschi, Welsh, Virgili, (Montano 75’), Kantarovski (Pepper 73’), Caravella Carney, Hoole, Cooper (Griffiths 46’), Jeronimo
Red cards: none
Yellow cards: Cooper 23’, Caravella 64’, Jaliens 72’, Carney 78’, Hoole 82’
Conditions: 26C, Humid
Attendance: 11,377 @ WIN Stadium