The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets played out a 2-2 draw with Bonnyrigg White Eagles at Bonnyrigg Sports Fields on Wednesday night.
After a fairly even opening to the contest, the Jets had the first clear-cut opportunity of the match in the 10th minute.
Adam Taggart played a through ball for James Virgili who showed great speed to chase down the pass, before rounding Bonnyrigg goalkeeper Matt Nash.
However, Virgili’s touch took him wide of the goalmouth and allowed the Bonnyrigg defence to cut off his angle for a shot, with the result being a corner kick.
The Jets went even closer to taking the lead less than a minute later, with Taggart forcing a sharp reflex from Nash with a clever back-heel at the near post.
Nash almost went from hero to villain for Bonnyrigg in the 20th minute, when he was unable to control a bobbling back pass. However, the White Eagles shot-stopper recovered just in time to stop the ball crossing the goal line.
The Jets made an early substitution in the 25th minute, with Scott Neville being replaced as a precaution by Craig Goodwin due to a minor foot complaint.
The Jets continued to attack, with Joey Gibbs sliding a ball through for Hoole who forced Nash to make a sharp reflex save, only to see the offside flag already raised.
Taggart was the next Jets player to try his luck, hitting a shot from the edge of the area over the crossbar after a layoff from Hoole in the 32nd minute.
Jets skipper Ruben Zadkovich brought a spectacular save out of Nash five minutes later, when his audacious chip from the edge of the area forced the keeper to dive backwards and tip the ball over the crossbar.
Mark Birighitti made his first meaningful contribution of the contest when he was forced to make a great diving save to deny former Adelaide United striker Robbie Younis.
Bonnyrigg came out firing after the interval, applying plenty of pressure to the Jets’ defence and forcing Birighitti to make a couple of saves early in the half.
The sustained pressure eventually paid dividends for the home side in the 50th minute, with Aaron Peterson putting them ahead with a tap-in finish after latching onto a cross in the Jets’ six-yard box.
The Jets went close to squaring the ledger a short time later, with Bridges putting Taggart in behind the Bonnyrigg defence. However, the striker’s shot back across the keeper was parried around the post for a corner kick.
The Jets did eventually get back on level terms in the 85th minute, with Virgili finishing calmly after latching onto a perfectly weighted through ball from Ben Kantarovski.
Almost straight after the ensuing restart of play, the Jets hit the front. Taggart broke the offside trap before squaring a pass across the face of the goal to Virgili who stroked the ball into an empty net.
However, it was Bonnyrigg who had the last laugh, Nikola Zonjic heading the ball home from a free-kick after being left unmarked at the back post to make it 2-2 in the 89th minute.
Newcastle Jets 2 (Virgili 85’ 86’)
Bonnyrigg White Eagles (Peterson 50’ Zonjic 89’)