Jets bounce back to down Fury

An impressive performance has handed the Newcastle Jets a 3-1 win over North Queensland Fury in Townsville.

The Newcastle Jets have comfortably defeated North Queensland Fury 3-1 in their week 22 Hyundai A-League clash at Dairy Farmers Stadium on Saturday evening.

Two goals inside the first quarter of an hour set-up the win for the visitors, who snapped a three game losing streak with the impressive victory.

A fierce drive by Ruben Zadkovich handed Newcastle the lead, and Labinot Haliti-s second goal in as many games gave the Jets a handy buffer in a match which tested the strength of depth in the Jets- squad. Recent signing Ryan Griffiths then netted his first goal for the club in the second half, capping off the win with a sublime volley.

An injury-time penalty by stand-in captain Mark Hughes proved to be nothing more than a consolation for North Queensland.

Both sides fielded somewhat unfamiliar line-ups, with Jets coach Branko Culina being forced to travel to Townsville with a depleted squad after recent injuries sidelined the likes of Ljubo Milicevic and Ali Abbas.

The Fury, meanwhile, rested regular skipper Gareth Edds along with Justin Pasfield and the injured Ufuk Talay.

Indeed, it was the home side who would start the brighter of the two outfits, with attacking midfielder Adam Casey hitting the post with a powerful header in just the 5th minute.

Moments later and livewire striker David Williams hit a goalbound rocket from long distance, only to be denied by the safe hands of Jets custodian Ben Kennedy, despite the goalkeeper going down with a minor head injury whilst covering Casey-s earlier effort.

However, the tables turned dramatically in the 13th minute when the Jets were awarded a free-kick just outside the area when Casey fouled Griffiths. From the ensuing dead-ball, skipper Kasey Wehrman teed-up Zadkovich to launch a stinging low drive beyond the outstretched hand of debutant goalkeeper Sebastian Usai.

The lead was then doubled on the quarter-hour mark when German-born defender Andre Kilian played a poor backpass from the left flank, allowing Haliti to stroll onto the loose ball and slot it neatly under the advancing Usai.

Late first half strikes by Griffiths and Marko Jesic tested out the young Fury shotstopper further, but the 20-year-old was up to the challenge to send the Townsville-based club into the half-time break with a chance of a comeback.

But it would be the Jets who would once again add to the scoreline in the second stanza, with Griffiths finishing off an electric move made down the left.

Tarek Elrich, appearing in his 100th Hyundai A-League game for the club, moved to the opposite wing from his usual right-back position due to an ankle injury picked up by Adam D-Apuzzo, and burst past his marker before squaring the ball for Griffiths to volley home unmarked at the far post.

The Fury, to their credit, fought hard until the final whistle and earned a penalty in the final minute of injury-time when Wehrman was adjudged to have brought down Panny Nikas in the box. Hughes stepped up to convert the spot-kick and made no mistake from 12-yards to give the home fans something to cheer about.

Newcastle are now breathing down the necks of both Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Heart on the Hyundai A-League ladder and have games in hand on both sides as they move into their next match.

And the Jets will be hoping for a similar result when they return home to take on the Fury at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Tuesday, 11 January. Tickets for this crucial midweek clash are available from www.proticket.com.au.

Match Details:
North Queensland Fury: 28. Sebastian USAI (gk), 2. Jack HINGERT (23. Lorenzo SIPI 72-), 3. Brad McDONALD, 4. Eric AKOTO, 5. Mark HUGHES (c), 8. Adam CASEY, 11. David WILLIAMS, 12. Panagiotis NIKAS, 13. Andre KILIAN, 15. Chris PAYNE (21. Jason SPAGNUOLO 46-), 24. Ramazan TAVSANCIOGLU (14. Chris GROSSMAN 61-)

Unused Substitutes: 1. Justin PASFIELD (gk)

Yellow cards: Mark Hughes 41-, Jack Hingert 45+1-, Ramazan Tavsancioglu 45+4-, Eric Akoto 46-

Red cards: Nil

Newcastle Jets: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Taylor REGAN, 3. Adam D-APUZZO (17. Marcello FIORENTINI 64-), 4. Nikolai TOPOR STANLEY, 7. Kasey WEHRMAN (c), 10. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 14. Labinot HALITI (13. Sasho PETROVSKI 68-), 18. Marko JESIC, 23. Ryan GRIFFITHS (26. James Virgili 83-)

Unused Substitutes: 50. Jack DUNCAN (gk)

Yellow cards: Nikolai Topor-Stanley 42-, Kasey Wehrman 90+4-

Red cards: Nil

North Queensland Fury: 1 (Hughes 90+5- pen.)
Newcastle Jets: 3 (Zadkovich 13-, Haliti 15-, Griffiths 70-)