Photo courtesy of William Straw
The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets continued their preparation for the 2013-14 Hyundai A-League season with a hard fought 3-0 victory over the Canberra NPL Allstars at McKellar Park.
761 dedicated fans braved the bitter cold in the nation’s capital, to watch a Newcastle side featuring five recently-capped Socceroos.
Many fans had not yet found their seats when Craig Goodwin opened the scoring for Newcastle after only two minutes. After All Stars winger Alex Oloriegbe burst down the right to fire in a shot in the first minute, Newcastle broke straight up the other end of the pitch and, following a defensive mix-up, Goodwin picked his spot to give the visiting Jets the lead.
The end-to-end opening saw Canberra’s Adam Spaleta have a good chance saved by Jets keeper Mark Birighitti. This was swiftly followed by Newcastle captain Ruben Zadkovich beating the Canberra offside trap, only to fire a timid shot straight at Adam Perakovic in the Canberra goal.
The All Stars grew in confidence as the match wore on, with Canberra FC’s Ivan Pavlak proving a constant threat down the left wing. Time and again he was given far too much time and space to torment the Jets defence.
In a ten minute period midway through the half he almost single-handedly brought Canberra back into the match, first firing over a dangerous cross that was just too tall for Oloriegbe, and then drawing a smart stop from Birighitti after latching onto a sublime through ball from Jon Toole. Only an offside flag and a last ditch tackle from Taylor Regan prevented Pavlak from laying on an equaliser for the All Stars.
Canberra’s best chance of the half came through Dominic Giampaolo, whose ferocious shot forced a fantastic diving save from Birighitti.
Pavlak and Oloriegbe, currently the second leading goal scorer in the Capital Football National Premier League for Canberra FC, were a constant threat throughout the half for the All Stars, but it was the Jets who doubled their advantage just before half time.
Newcastle’s Andrew Hoole crashed a shot against the Canberra crossbar, and following a mad scramble in the penalty area, the ball fell to Zadkovich, who powered the ball into the net to put the Jets 2-0 up at the half.
Both teams made wholesale changes during the break, with Canberra bringing on four substitutions and Newcastle seven, many of them trial players.
Newcastle substitute James Vigrili’s injection of pace proved troublesome for the Canberra defensive line, with Newcastle’s younger brigade keen to impress. Canberra continued to press for the goal to get them back into the match, with Adam Spaleta playing a neat backheeled 1-2 with Milan Popovich, who forced another good save from Birghitti.
The backbreaking goal came 18 minutes into the second half, as Canberra lost possession in their own half, and the swift play of Virgili saw fellow substitute Rhys Cooper slot in low on the counter attack.
Canberra fought to the end, and had several goal scoring chances in the closing stages. Newcastle’s Cooper miss hit a clearance from Pavlak’s free kick, almost scoring an own goal and Hristjan Tanoski crashed a powerful shot against teammate Jordan Tsekenis.
Canberra Olympic youngster Josh Gaspari, who was last week named in the Australian Schoolboys team, was brought on as a late substitute and troubled the Newcastle defence with his pace and trickery. He and Jason Urgrinic combined well down the Canberra right, but each time there was a Jets defender standing in their way.
The game ended with a Canberra freekick sailing harmlessly over the crossbar, with Newcastle thoroughly deserved 3-0 victors.
Newcastle Jets 3 (Goodwin 2’, Zadkovich 39’, Cooper 63’)
Canberra NPL All-Stars 0
Canberra NPL All-Stars: 3. Joel VALTONEN, 4. Ryan KEIR, 7. Jon TOOLE, 10. Dominic GIAMPAOLO, 11. Ivan PAVLAK, 15. Milan POPOVICH, 17. Alex OLORIEGBE, 18. Jack GREEN, 19. Dustin WELLS, 20. Adam PERAKOVIC, 25. Adam SPALETA
1. James BRADBURY, 2. Aaron EVANS, 14. James FIELD, 21. Joshua GASPARI, 13. Sam McDONALD, 16. Hristjan TANOSKI, 8. Jason UGRINIC, 9. Jordan TSEKENIS
Newcastle Jets: 1. Mark BIRIGHITTI,2. Scott NEVILLE, 3. Taylor REGAN, 4. Jacob PEPPER, 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI, 7. Andrew HOOLE, 8. Ruben ZADKOVICH (c), 12. Josh BRILLANTE, 13. Joseph GIBBS, 15. Craig GOODWIN, 22. Adam TAGGART
Substitutes used: 17. James VIRGILI, 20. John SOLARI, 18. Andrew PAWIAK, 25. Nicholas PEPPER, 16. Radovan PAVICEVIC, 26. Ben HAN, 21. Luke WILLARD, 14. Michael KANTAROVSKI, 23. Michael WILLIAMS, 10. Beau MCDONALD, 24. Rhys COOPER
Match Officials: Ben Williams (referee), Allyson Flynn, Greg Taylor