Jets and Reds in scoreless stalemate
Newcastle Jets and Adelaide United have fought out a gritty 0-0 draw in sweltering conditions at Hunter Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Reds started the game the better with striker Dario Vidosic creating a number chances before the Jets worked their way back into the contest through livewire winger James Virgili and forward Ryan Griffiths.
The Jets lost marquee man Emile Heskey at half-time but had finished the better with replacement Adam Taggart causing the Adelaide defence plenty of headaches with his pace.
He almost got the winner just before the hour mark but was denied by a superb save from Reds goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic.
The draw sees Adelaide move to within a point of league leaders Central Coast Mariners while the Jets draw level with sixth placed Brisbane Roar on 17 points with the rest of the round still to play.
The Round 15 fixture started in hot, blustery conditions and while it was the home team who pressed hard it was the Reds who had the best of the early chances.
Vidosic forced a sharp save from Jets goalkeeper Mark Birighitti in the fifth minute when he unleashed a solid left-foot shot from just outside six-yard box.
Adelaide then had claims for a penalty turned down when Vidosic fired the ball into the area following a corner and it appeared to come off the hand of Heskey who was back helping out his defence.
Newcastle had their first chance of the match on the half-hour mark when Virgili produced a weaving run into the box where he was crunched in a tackle by Cassio and Antony Golec. The ball fell to Griffiths whose shot from 18 metres was tipped over the bar by Galekovic.
Griffiths had another opportunity 10 minutes later when Virgili again got the better of Casio and clipped the ball back from the byline where Griffiths pushed a low shot toward goal but it was deflected away by Iain Fyfe.
Both sides had half chances to finish the half but went to the break locked at 0-0.
The Jets lost Heskey at half-time to a minor quad injury, being replaced by Socceroo Adam Taggart.
Taggart made an immediate impact up front with his pace and went close to opening the scoring in the 58th minute when Griffiths played in the young striker who took the ball to the edge of the six-yard box before firing for the far corner only to see his shot pushed around the post superbly by the outstretched leg of Galekovic.
Both coaches made substitutions just after the hour mark with Zenon Caravella replacing Evan Kostopoulos and Fabien Barbiero coming on for Vidosic for the Reds while the Jets brought on veteran striker Michael Bridges for James Brown.
It was the home side who was finishing better finding plenty of space in the middle of the park and on the wings but they couldn't create any clear cut chances with Taggart going closest with a flashing header 10 minutes from full-time.
For the most part Adelaide were forced to attack on the counter with Bruce Djite and Caravella toiling hard but they were held out by a determined Newcastle defence who kept their first clean sheet of the season for a vital share of the points.
Newcastle Jets 0
Adelaide United 0
Bet365.com Man of the Match: Eugene Galekovic - Another fine display from the Reds keeper marked him out in an otherwise stale affair.
Crowd 10,721 at Hunter Stadium, Newcastle