Newcastle Jets coach Clayton Zane has said you can 'never say never' as his side walked the Hyundai A-League finals tightrope after giving up a late penalty to finish with a 2-2 draw against the Melbourne Victory on Saturday night.
The Jets looked like they had done enough to earn all three points in a pulsating encounter after first-half goals from Adam Taggart and a Josh Brillante strike that deflected in off Melbourne defender Adrian Leijer.
But Newcastle conceded an 85th minute penalty that was well taken by Victory skipper Mark Milligan to see the game finish 2-2.
The point sees the Jets draw level with sixth placed Sydney FC with the Sky Blues still to play this weekend.
Whatever the result from the Sydney v Phoenix match on Sunday, it insures a tense week leading up to the ultimate round where the Jets need a win against Adelaide United and hope Sydney falter against Perth Glory to qualify for the finals.
“It could be a very valuable point,” Zane said after the draw against the Victory.
“It feels like a big disappointment, almost like a loss in the change rooms now, but it could be a valuable point.
“But I think more than anything I was very happy with the performance tonight, so it is good going into the last game knowing we can put on a display like that. If we can do that against Adelaide next week and results fall our way, you never say never.”
Newcastle opened the match with plenty of venom in attack and took the lead with a well worked goal in the 18th minute before conceding a soft set piece equaliser just three minutes later.
But they were back in front just two minutes further down the track and looked like holding that lead until Josh Mitchell brought down Archie Thompson in the box five minutes from full-time.
“We did very well to get back in the game once they had levelled. I thought the reaction was very good," Zane said.
“Beyond that, during half-time I said that we can't sit on two (goals) I know the threat that Melbourne Victory pose, their attacking four players have goals in them, they are not going to stop until the final whistle goes.
“I thought defensively our structure was very good and when they had their open player and the stretched us through their wingers I always felt if we got that third goal it was going to be enough, but two never seemed enough.
“I thought it was a dominant display from us – we got a lot of ball into the box and we looked very creative in the final third and apart from a little bit of wayward finishing I thought it was a very good display from an attacking point.”
The Jets coach said that he was confident his side would re-gather themselves after the drawn result to put a positive performance in their do-or-die clash against Adelaide next Friday night.
“We will all be looking at that Sydney result (versus Phoenix) but it is going to come down to that last game – if we get a positive result from things down there it will make things smoother but knowing the boys after an even bigger disappointment last week against Perth, I have no doubt that we will have a good week at training and come out with all guns blazing like we did today,” he said.
“For us it is just about putting another good performance in. We talked about having two very good performances at home, I think we ticked one box tonight – valuable point and hopefully three points will be enough next week.
“We just need to find that final 10 percent in front of goal.”comments