A game themed around Remembrance Day ended as a match Adelaide United would rather forget as the Reds suffered a 2-1 defeat to the Newcastle Jets.
In the Reds’ only home game amongst a stretch of six matches, the Jets soared to a two goal lead before Fabio Ferreira breathed life into the home side with 20 minutes remaining to set up a tense finale.
But there would be no fairytale ending as Newcastle held on for their first win of the season to leave the Reds needing to pick themselves up for a trip west to face Perth Glory next Saturday.
The first 45 minutes was one of numerous chances at both ends. The Jets were denied twice by goal saving blocks, Tarek Elrich producing a desperate tackle in his 150th Hyundai A-League appearance on Nathan Burns to keep Adelaide on level terms in the 10th minute.
Newcastle goalkeeper Mark Birighitti was also called into action after Jeronimo steered a shot on target.
The game moved towards a stalemate at the break before Newcastle Kew Jaliens capitalized on a Burns corner in the 41st minute.
Down at the break, Adelaide began the second half with fresh intent and threatened through a move down the right by Ferreira.
However turnover in midfield followed by a bursting run by Andrew Hoole soon after created Newcastle’s second which was calmly taken by Taggart as he chipped the ball over Eugene Galekovic.
This caused Gombau to go make changes as he introduced Bruce Djite and Cassio, both of whom were making their first appearance of the season, much to the delight of the 10,244 in attendance.
Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond responded with his own substitution, replacing Taggart with English striker Emile Heskey.
But just a minute later Ferreira gave the Reds hope when he met Jeronimo’s cross with a ghosting run at the far post to direct his header into the back of the net.
The goal rocked the crowd, and the Reds into action but any momentum swing was blunted in the 90th minute when Nigel Boogaard was shown a straight red card for a challenge from behind on Heskey.
A disappointed Gombau was left to reflect on seeing his team take a step back from the progress it has made in recent weeks.
“I am unhappy today because we didn’t play the way that we want to play and the way that we are working,” Gombau said.
“I’m unhappy with the result, unhappy because we lost at home, unhappy with the way that we played, but this is football.”
“On Monday we have training again and we need to work. I have one thing that is very clear and that is the style I want to play.”
Marcelo Carrusca was awarded the Tomas Dale Medal.
Adelaide United FC 1 (Ferreira 71’)
Newcastle Jets 2 (Jaliens 41’, Taggart 52’)
Referee: Strebre Delovski
Crowd: 10,244 @ Coopers Stadium
Adelaide United starting line-up: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (GK) (c), 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Jon McKAIN (11.Bruce DJITE 64’), 5.Osama MALIK (13.Steven LUSTICA 46’), 7.JERONIMO, 8.ISAIAS, 9.Sergio CIRIO, 10.Marcelo CARRUSCA, 18.Michael ZULLO (6.CASSIO 64’), 21.Tarek ELRICH, 22.Fabio FERREIRA
Substitutes not used: 17.Awer MABIL, 20.Paul IZZO (GK)
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Boogaard 90’
Newcastle Jets line-up: 1.Mark BIRIGHITTI (GK), 2.Scott NEVILLE, 4.Kew JALIENS, 5.Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7.Andrew HOOLE (18.James BROWN 81’), 8.Ruben ZADKOVICH (c), 10.Nathan BURNS, 12.Connor CHAPMAN, 15.Josh BRILLANTE, 21.Sam GALLAWAY (16.Jacob PEPPER 90+3’), 22.Adam TAGGART (9.Emile HESKEY 70’)
Substitutes not used: 19.Michael BRIDGES, 20.Ben KENNEDY (GK)
Yellow Cards: Jaliens 7’, Chapman 37’, Zadkovich 43’, Birighitti 90+1’, Brown 90+5’
Red Cards: Nil