The Newcastle Jets have maintained their grip on second spot in the National Youth League, coming from behind to register an action-packed 4-2 win over Adelaide United at Wanderers Oval, Newcastle on Saturday night.
The game started at a frantic pace with the Jets creating some early half-chances but it was Adelaide who opened the scoring in just the ninth minute.
A clever pass from Jack Bladen put Ryan Kitto into space on the left wing. He sent a dangerous cross into the box where it took a deflection off a Jets defender and Reds striker Anthony Kosta was on-hand to steer his shot into the corner.
The visitors almost doubled their lead a few moments later when Kitto swung a free-kick from just outside the box narrowly over the crossbar.
The Jets looked dangerous going forward and created some promising chances of their own. Brandon Lundy saw his low shot well saved by Reds goalkeeper John Hall while James Virgili should have done better when he was unmarked inside the box, but fired his angled shot over the bar.
Virgili almost made amends just after the half-hour mark when he streaked away down the right wing and into the box where he fired a searing shot that beat Hall but smacked off the far post.
Down the other end Reds midfielder Nathan Konstandopoulos almost did it himself when he broke free down the left flank and then weaved into the box where he fired a right-footed shot that just sailed wide of the far post and the sides went to the interval with Adelaide leading 1-0.
The Reds had the first chance of the second half when Kitto cut a pass from the left wing to the top of the box where Bladen blazed a shot narrowly over the target.
The Jets started finding their measure and they equalised in the 55th minute when striker Radovan Pavicevic pulled down a floated long ball from Michael Kantarovski and then slotted his shot past Hall.
The home side took the lead just two minutes later when Virgili sprinted into space down the right flank before cutting a ball back for Kale Bradbery, who showed plenty of poise to take a touch before calmly steering his shot into the corner.
Both sides made a host of chances on the hour mark and it was Reds substitute Nikola Mileusnic who had the greatest impact when he scored with his first touch, firing a blistering right-footed shot from the edge of the area to the far top corner to make it 2-2 just after the hour mark.
The home side regained the lead in the 80th minute when Virgili again got around his man on the right wing and slid a lovely cross into the box where Pavicevic buried his second goal of the night.
Newcastle sealed the match three minutes before the final whistle with Virgili again the outlet. He took the ball to the byline before cutting back to the penalty spot. Nicolas Cowburn saw his first shot parried away by Hall but his was quick to the follow-up and poked home Newcastle's fourth of the night.
There was late drama when Jets defender Matthew Bilic was sent off after he pulled down Costa when he was attempting to score from a low cross just two metres out from goal. Costa stepped up to the penalty spot but saw his shot saved by Jets goalkeeper John Solari.
Newcastle Jets 4 (Pavicevic 54, 80, Bradbery 57, Cowburn 87)
Adelaide United 1 (Costa 9, Mileusnic 61)
at Wanderers Oval, Newcastle
1. John Solari (GK), 2. Michael Finlayson (14. Benjamin Hay 59min) 3. Connor Chapman (capt), 4. Thomas Whiteside, 5. Matthew Bilic, 6. Nic Cowburn, 7. James Virgili, 8. Michael Kantarovski (12. Andrew Paviak 59min), 9. Kale Bradbery, 10. Radovan Pavicevic, 11. Brandon Lundy (13. Beaudon McDonald 59min)
Subs: 20. Adam Pearce (GK).
Coach Jim Pascoe
1. John Hall (GK), 2. Dion Kirk, 3. Shaun Harvey (Capt), 6. Jack Bladen, 7. Bruce Kamau (11. Nikola Mileusnic 58min), 8. Nathan Konstandopoulos, 9. Anthony Costa, 10. Ryan Kitto (22. Donovan Pollock 59min), 12. Christopher Skull (16. Jake Monaco 58min) 15. Matthew Bouzalas, 19. Daniel Bowles.
Subs: 20. Daniel Margush (GK),
Coach Michael Valkanis