Brisbane Roar has earned a hard fought point, playing out a 0-0 draw with Newcastle Jets in difficult conditions at Hunter Stadium.
The Roar were the stronger team in the opening stanza while the Jets finished with more chances in front of goal in the second half, a point each a fair result on the night.
Brisbane boss Mike Mulvey sprung a selection surprise, playing Ivan Franjic - back in the starting eleven after effects of a concussion kept him out last weekend - in a more attacking role, in front of Jack Hingert on the right wing.
Massimo Murdocca dropped out of the squad with his recent ankle injury again causing him problems, allowing Dutch attacker Stef Nijland to return to the side after a cameo appearance against Wellington Phoenix last Sunday.
In the seventh minute, the Jets fashioned the first shot on goal when right-back Joshua Brillante found Emile Heskey up front, the English talisman striking the ball against the upright to keep the score at 0-0 early in the encounter.
There was plenty of rain on the Hunter Stadium pitch during the first half but chances were still coming at either end and in particular, Besart Berisha had good opportunity to notch up his fourth goal in as many matches on the half hour mark.
The ball was played over the top by Franjic and Berisha squeezed his run through two Jets defenders but outcoming goalkeeper Mark Birighitti was equal to the challenge and smothered the Albanain's strike.
Late in the first half, the Roar couldn't capitalise on their pressure in front of goal although it was not for lack of trying.
Franjic stung the palms of Birghitti with a powerful strike in the 43rd minute before Jade North - playing against the side he captained to the Hyundai A-League Championship in 2008 - was denied his first Roar goal by an offside flag after a superb cross-field ball from Luke Brattan.
Mitch Nichols was an early second half replacement for Brattan in the second half as the newly re-signed midfielder succumbed to a hip knock inside ten minutes and Newcastle used the time as the away side reshuffled to momentarily take the swing of momentum.
Adam Taggart was especially lively up front for the Jets, a shot on goal needed a strong block from Roar defender James Donachie and before shotstopper Michael Theo had to be quick to react to the young striker's 72nd minute attempt from outside the penalty area.
Henrique, returning from a hip injury, and Halloran were thrown on by Mulvey in the last ten minutes as Brisbane attempted to rejuvenate their attacking options but it was North who played an important role at the other end, a timely tackle to deny substitute James Virgili as the match ended 0-0.
Newcastle Jets 0
Brisbane Roar 0
Friday, 22 February 2013
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Referee: Lucien Lavendure
Newcastle Jets: 3. Zenon CARAVELLA, 5. Dominik RITTER, 8. Ruben ZADKOVICH (c), 9. Emile HESKEY, 12. Joshua BRILLANTE, 13. Samuel GALLAWAY, 14. Taylor REGAN, 19. Michael BRIDGES (25. Mitch COOPER 66'), 20. Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 22. Adam TAGGART (17. James VIRGILI 81'), 23. Ryan GRIFFITHS (26. Andrew HOOLE 90+1')
Substitutes not used: 1. Ben KENNEDY
Yellow cards: Ruben ZADKOVICH 23', Sam GALLAWAY 34', Michael BRIDGES 55'
Red cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEO (gk), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Ivan FRANJIC (11. Ben HALLORAN 83'), 7. Besart BERISHA, 9. Stefan NIJLAND (10. HENRIQUE 83'), 13. Jade NORTH, 14. Steven LUSTICA, 15. James DONACHIE, 18. Luke BRATTAN (17. Mitch NICHOLS 53'), 19. Jack HINGERT, 22. Thomas BROICH (c)
Substitutes not used: 20. Matt ACTON (gk)
Yellow cards: Stefan NIJLAND 35', Mitch NICHOLS 90+2'
Red cards: Nil