Al-Fayha edge out Jets in Pinatar


The Newcastle Jets have gone down to Saudi Arabian side, Al-Fayha FC in a friendly fixture at the Pinatar Arena Football Centre.

An unusually late kick-off time of 9.30pm meant cool and comfortable conditions for players on the centre’s picturesque main field.

As both teams looked to find their feet in the opening exchanges, it would be Al-Fayha who would take their opportunity and edge in front just six minutes in.

Despite the deficit, the Jets were in control for large periods of the opening half but were unable to finish their chances in the attacking third.

Dimi Petratos went close with two attacking free kicks and was causing problems in the middle of the park.

Al-Fayha was happy to sit back and take their opportunities on the break, going close in the 34th minute as they continued to absorb pressure in the lead up to half time.

Daniel Georgievski was enterprising on the edge of defence and Jason Hoffman was proving dangerous in the attacking third as he continued to build on his strong pre-season form.

Glen Moss made a spectacular diving save early in the second stanza to keep the Jets with arms reach of Al-Fayha, getting some assistance from the woodwork in the process.

His effort however, was to no avail as Al-Fayha doubled their lead shortly after.

Ernie Merrick then began ringing in the changes, as he looked to manage the workload of his key players for their upcoming FFA Cup fixture early next week.

Ronny Vargas made an immediate impact on his arrival and would eventually lay on a goal for Lachlan Jackson at the set piece, with a pin-point kick that the central defender headed home convincingly.

The Jets pushed for an equaliser late, and created a number of chances but it would be Al-Fayha who would take bragging rights in the first ever meeting of the two clubs.

Ernie Merrick’s side will now face Cartagena on Friday 3 August before returning home to Australia.