Brisbane Roar Head Coach Rado Vidosic will take plenty of confidence from his side’s first pre-season hit out against Hyundai A-League opposition, despite watching his team go down 1-0 to the Newcastle Jets at Scully Park, Tamworth.
While there is clearly still work to be done on the training track at this stage of preparations, there were more than enough positives from his charges, including a composed debut for Japanese defender Yuji Takahashi, to put a smile on the Roar mentor’s face.
Brisbane had the first clear cut opportunity of the match after seven minutes when Ben Halloran slipped a ball across the top of the box for Henrique, but the little Brazilian’s left-foot effort missed the target.
Rocky Visconte was next to threaten four minutes later when he let a shot go from just outside the box, but Mark Birighitti had the effort well covered.
Both flank combinations were showing signs of promise early with Shane Stefanutto and Rocky Visconte working the left and Jack Hingert and Halloran down the right.
The Jets had to wait until the 18th minute for their first real shot in anger when Ruben Zadkovich found some room for himself just outside the box, but his effort went over the bar.
After a series of corners it was the Jets who took the lead through Ryan Griffiths as he latched onto a Marko Jesic backheel from a Jobe Wheelhouse corner on 20 minutes.
Besart Berisha nearly had the Roar level just before the half hour mark when he pounced on a defensive error and ran strongly to the edge of the box before shooting millimetres wide of Birighitti’s far post.
Newcastle were buoyed by their goal, but gradually the Roar worked their way back into the contest and on 35 minutes only some desperate goalkeeping from Birighitti kept Massimo Murdocca at bay, while Halloran pulled a follow up effort wide of the mark with his left foot.
The second half started as an arm-wrestle as both sides tightened things up in the middle of the park and clear-cut opportunities were hard to come by.
The match came alive around the hour mark with Birighitti somehow managing to keep out an excellent Matt Jurman header from a back post corner.
Berisha then had two chances in three minutes, first firing a free-kick into the wall and then squeezing a shot under Birighitti but just wide of the goal.
A raft of changes broke up the flow of the game and tired legs meant there was more room to move, but both sides struggled to fashion anything which could be considered clear-cut.
With seven minutes left Berisha latched on to a free ball on the edge of the box after some strong work by Nick Fitzgerald but his goal-bound shot was tipped away by Birighitti.
Newcastle briefly threatened on the stroke of full time but the match ended with a 1-0 win to the home side.
Newcastle Jets 1 (Griffiths 20’)
Brisbane Roar 0
at Scully Park, Tamworth
Newcastle Jets: 1. Mark Birighitti (GK), 3. Taylor Regan (13. Samuel Galloway 71’), 4. Josh Mitchell, 5. Craig Goodwin (2. Dominile Ritter 71’), 6. Ben Kantarovski, 7. Marko Jesic (14. Mitch Oxborrow 84’), 8. Ruben Zadkovich (18. Jacob Pepper 71’), 9. Ryan Griffiths (19. Michael Bridges 71’), 10. Jobe Wheelhouse (capt)( 12. Bernardo Ribeiro 71’), 11. James Virgili, 15. Scott Neville.
Substitutes not used: Jack Duncan (GK)
Yellow cards: Wheelhouse (20’), Ribeiro (75’)
Red cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael Theo (GK), 2. Matt Smith (capt) (29. Yuji Takahashi 71’), 3. Matt Jurman, 4. Shane Stefanutto, 6. Erik Paartalu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca (18. Luke Brattan 71’), 10. Henrique (25. George Lambadaridis 71’), 11. Ben Halloran, 14. Rocky Visconte (24. Nick Fitzgerald 46’), 19. Jack Hingert.
Yellow cards: Jurman (27’)
Red cards: Nil