A first half goal to Newcastle Jets captain Jobe Wheelhouse has handed Brisbane Roar their first defeat in six outings as the away side managed a 1-0 at Suncorp Stadium tonight.
While seven places separated the two teams on the Hyundai A-League ladder leading into the round 17 fixture, Newcastle were visibly up for the challenge against the reigning Premiers with both Jacob Pepper and Francis Jeffers forcing Roar ‘keeper Michael Theoklitos into action before 10 minutes was played.
Brisbane, on the other hand, threatened through their own attacking armoury of Henrique and young Nick Fitzgerald but struggled to find the killer instinct despite the best efforts of Thomas Broich and Mitch Nichols to set up the duo in front of goal.
In the 23rd minute, a foul on Pepper in a dangerous position allowed Jets skipper Jobe Wheelhouse to play a well-timed one-two with Ben Kantarovski, finishing off the move by playing the ball across Theoklitos and into in the back of the net against the run of play.
The Roar continued to dominate possession in typical fashion, looking most threatening whilst exploiting the space down the wings, but the biggest cheer of half reserved for lanky centre-back Mohamed Adnan who attempted to chip Newcastle shotstopper Ben Kennedy from just inside the halfway mark.
Henrique continued to cause the Newcastle defence problems in the early stages of the second period with only the intervention of the assistant referee’s flag preventing the diminutive Brazilian from scoring his fifth goal of the season.
But his time on the pitch was limited as a double substitution just after the hour mark saw local products Luke Brattan and James Meyer introduced at the expense of Henrique and Erik Paartalu.
The Roar continued to throw everything forward in an effort to find the leveller with Nichols and Broich the closest to breaking the deadlock for the home side as the Jets’ back four stood strong against the attempted fight-back.
The crowd were on their feet in the 89th minute when Adnan stepped up to take a set piece in almost the identical spot in which he scored the remarkable equaliser against Sydney FC two weeks ago but the Bahraini defender’s curling shot was deflected out for a corner.
That effort proved to be Brisbane’s last significant attempt on goal and the game finished 1-0 in favour of the Novocastrians with Roar captain Matt Smith described the match as “frustrating” in the post-match press conference.
“I think we copped a silly goal at a critical time and I think it really set us back,” he said.
“That’s been the case over the last eight or ten matches, we cop the first goal which puts you on the back foot and means you’re always chasing games.
“When teams put ten men behind the ball and defend for the half or sixty minutes, it makes it hard for us to try and break them down.”
Brisbane Roar 0
Newcastle Jets 1 (Jobe WHEELHOUSE 23’)
Saturday, 28 January 2012
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Ben Williams
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matthew SMITH (c), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU (18. Luke BRATTAN 65’), 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 10. HENRIQUE (21. James MEYER 65’), 16. Mohamed ADNAN, 17. Mitchell NICHOLS 22. Thomas BROICH, 24. Nicholas FITZGERALD
Substitutes not used: 4. Matthew JURMAN, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk)
Yellow cards: Nil
Red cards: Nil
Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Tiago CALVANO, 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 10. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE (c) (9. Michael BRIDGES 65’), 13. Sung-Hwan BYUN, 23. Ryan GRIFFITHS (2. Taylor REGAN 87’), 24. Francis JEFFERS (8. Jeremy BROCKIE 65’), 25. Jacob PEPPER
Substitutes not used: 19. Matthew NASH (gk)
Yellow cards: Tiago CALVANO 55’, Ben KENNEDY 90+3’
Red cards: Nil