Stubbins: We should have beaten City

Newcastle coach Phil Stubbins says the Jets probably should have defeated Melbourne City after going a goal up on Sunday but says the confidence and belief in his team is growing every week.

The Jets went ahead through Edson Montano on 62 minutes after being on the back foot for most of the first half.

But Melbourne City hit back on 87 minutes through marquee man David Villa, denying Newcastle the three points.

The week before the Jets looked to have secured a draw against the Mariners before Mitchell Duke struck in injury-time to seal a 1-0 win.

Stubbins told FourFourTwo the City clash was a mixed bag from his side but he was pleased with the improved display in the second half.

“After a fairly shaky start from the boys I'd summarise to say that the game ultimately concluded with a pretty positive performance from us,” he said.

“Although, we allowed Melbourne City a lot of the ball in the first half an hour, we held a good structure throughout this period whereby Melbourne found it difficult to break us down and we progressively grew into the contest as halftime approached.

“The break allowed us the opportunity to offer some tactical adjustments and the message was one of finding more ways to get on the ball and affect the game against Melbourne City by dictating the play more on our terms.

“To a good degree we achieved this. We were much more effective than the opening exchanges of the game, and managed to score the opening goal, and really should have closed the contest out with a couple of very good opportunities, which fell our way prior to them scoring late on through a certain by Mr Villa.

“That's not taking anything away from Melbourne City who we all know have some wonderful players on their books now and they did play some appealing football.

“However, the confidence and belief in our group is growing each week and to be able to say we probably should have won the game with so many good players representing Melbourne City is a testament to our playing group’s improvements and the actual abilities of ourselves too.

“We're disappointed to have conceded so late which cost us the win but buoyed by the improving efforts of the team.”

Newcastle is on the road again this weekend with a fixture against Wellington Phoenix on Sunday. The Jets do not play at home until November 8 with the pitch at Hunter Stadium being resurfaced.

Newcastle has a terrible record in New Zealand but Stubbins believes his team is up for the challenge.

“We've also had the draw of having to play our first four games all away from home but the boys have shown tremendous spirit to carry the flag as they have done thus far,” he said.

“It's going to be a another stern test in Wellington next week, but another battle the boys will go into with even further resolve and most importantly the knowledge of knowing that we want to be braver and more productive with the ball as we showed in the second half in particular versus Melbourne City.”