Phil Stubbins hailed the contribution of a trio of new players after the Newcastle Jets drew 0-0 with the Central Coast Mariners in Saturday’s F3 derby at Hunter Stadium.
After a disappointing clash in terms of entertainment and derby fire, Stubbins was upbeat after another draw for the home side.
“Before the game, what we expected and wanted from young Mitchell Cooper was exactly what we required. He got himself three strikes at goal," Stubbins told reporters after the game.
“And from a guy [Enver Alivodic] who came here from minus 10 or so degrees, he’s obviously not got the fitness we want ... you look at [Lee] Ki-Je he was exceptional for me and if we can get Enver anywhere near the physical state of Ki-Je in such a short period of time he’ll be an asset for us.”
At left-back, Lee marked danger man Fabio Ferreira, who was described by Stubbins as one of the most dangerous attacking weapons in the league.
“His performance vindicated playing him as a left-back,” added Stubbins.
However, the key moment of the game was Cooper’s shot that hit the bar and bounced up and out of the goal.
Jets players appealed for a goal but referee Adam Fielding waved them away, with replays showing it was close but inconclusive.
It was a huge let-off for the visitors and a talking point in an otherwise dour first half.
Stubbins, however, was philosophical about the incident.
“It hasn’t been a season where things have gone our way or fell in our laps," he said.
"But we just keep going. To create luck we need to keep working very hard. And culturally we’re good as a group."
The Jets face a rampant Sydney FC side at home on Friday.comments