The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets defeated Lake Macquarie City FC 3-0 in their first trial match of the pre-season at Macquarie Field on Wednesday night.
Goals to Sam Gallaway, Ben Kantarovski and Youth team player Bobby Russell ensured the Jets notched a comfortable win on a cold night in Lake Macquarie.
The match was broken up into 30-minute thirds, with Jets coach Gary van Egmond rotating his squad to ensure each player had the opportunity to test themselves against their NBN State League opponents.
Experienced duo Michael Bridges and Zenon Caravella played the first 30 minutes of the contest, while the remainder of the Jets squad got close to 60 minutes of game time under their belts.
The Jets started the match in a 3-4-3 formation, with Scott Neville, Taylor Regan and Sam Gallaway at the back, while Mitch Oxborrow and Jacob Pepper played at left and right wingback respectively.
Zenon Caravella and Ben Kantarovski played as holding midfielders behind a front three of James Virgili, Michael Bridges and Scottish trialist James Keatings.
The Jets controlled possession in the early stages with Keatings and Virgili both forcing saves from the Lake Macquarie goalkeeper with long-range efforts.
Bridges also had a couple of opportunities to put the Jets in front, but was unable to find the target.
Jets’ shot-stopper John Solari had little to do throughout the match, but came off his line quickly to snuff out a half-chance on the counter-attack for Lake Macquarie.
Bridges and Caravella were replaced by Joey Gibbs and U18 Emerging Jets defender Josh Murray at the 30-minute interval with the scores level at 0-0.
After a sustained period of pressure, the Jets eventually broke the deadlock when Gallaway, who had moved to left wingback following Caravella’s substitution, dribbled his way into the box and fired a powerful low shot past the Lake Macquarie goalkeeper.
The Jets doubled their advantage a short time later, with Kantarovski unleashing a pinpoint shot from well outside the penalty area that nestled in the top corner of the goal.
Gibbs almost extended the Jets’ lead when he rose well to meet Kantarovski’s cross with a powerful header that forced a low save from the Lake Macquarie keeper.
At the end of the second 30-minute period, the Jets made wholesale changes, with Gibbs the only first-team squad member remaining on the field.
The former Western Sydney striker was complemented by a number of players from the Jets’ youth team squad as well as A-League Championship winner Stuart Musialik.
Attacking midfielder Bobby Russell scored the Jets’ third of the match, when his shot took a heavy deflection, wrong-footing the Lake Macquarie keeper before nestling in the back of the net.
Gibbs had a couple of chances to add a fourth goal for the Jets, only to be thwarted by Lake Macquarie’s scrambling defence.
Newcastle Jets 3 (Gallaway, Kantarovski, Russell)
Lake Macquarie City FC 0