Optimistic Jets Open Season

Newcastle Jets debutant, Kasey Wehrman, could have been forgiven for thinking he was back in Norway, where he has played for the past nine seasons, as the teams played out the first ever draw between the two clubs on a bitterly cold night.

The Newcastle Jets have opened their Hyundai A-League season with a nil all draw in Adelaide. Newcastle Jets debutant, Kasey Wehrman, could have been forgiven for thinking he was back in Norway, where he has played for the past nine seasons, as the teams played out the first ever draw between the two clubs on a bitterly cold night. Wehrman spear headed a well structured Newcastle Jets who were unfortunate not to leave Adelaide with the three points.

Adelaide were missing a number of their experienced players including Travis Dodd and Robert Cornthwaite and this contributed to a nervous start by the hosts. The Newcastle Jets almost took advantage of their opponents anxiety with an early chance to Marko Jesic from a free kick from about 30 yards from goal. The curling ball took a deflection that almost took Eugene Galekovich by surprise but sailed well over the cross bar. The resulting corner deceived the Adelaide defence and narrowly drifted over Sean Rooney-s head before going out for a goal kick.

Adelaide then came into the game for a brief period and started to put some pressure back on the Newcastle Jets. In the seventh minute, Ljubo Milicevic jumped with Sergio Van Dijk in the Newcastle box which resulted in the Adelaide players appealing for a penalty. The referee rightly ignored their calls but this seemed to strike some energy into the reds. In the 8th minute, Topor-Stanley defended a Ramsey cross that was destined to reach a threatening Paul Reid. A minute later. Pantelis put a superb cross into the Jets penalty area that was headed wide by a waiting Daniel Mullins. The game had commenced at a very fast tempo and both teams gave some early indications that they were looking for an early advantage.

The Newcastle Jets dominated the next period and their class was displayed when Wehrman gave a side foot pass to Bridges who cleverly flicked the ball in the air before hitting it on the half volley which was comfortably caught by Galekovich. In the 19th minute, Bridges made a strong run down the right hand side and passed to a flying D-Apuzzo, who received it on the edge of the eighteen yard box and force a diving save from the Adelaide keeper. The Jets continued to dominate with strong matches by Adam D-Apuzzo and Marko Jesic putting Adelaide under pressure.

In the 34th minute, a defensive slip by the Adelaide defence almost gifted Rooney an opportunity to pounce but the Adelaide defence recovered just in time. The Adelaide defence were just hanging on but Newcastle could not convert its dominance into a goal. In the 42nd minute, Branko Culina was forced to make his first change when Topor-Stanley was forced off with a knee injury and forced the Jets to reshuffle their defence. This was followed by a number of crude tackles by the Adelaide side which resulted in a short melee between the two sides just before the half time break.

The second half began much like the first half with Newcastle still dominating play and Adelaide depending on its counter attack. Some sloppy possession almost cost Newcastle when a stray ball fell to the feet of Ramsey, who only had Kantarovski to beat and a player supporting on the right hand side. The young Jet somehow got a head on the ball that was heading towards the Newcastle goal and quickly defused the situation.

Newcastle-s best chances of the game came in this period. In the 54th minute, a Rooney shot deflected off an Adelaide defender and fell to Abbas. He cleverly put a low cross to Michael Bridges who volleyed the ball at Galekavich. Again, the Jets captain showed some good skill in the 60th minute with an early ball into Wheelhouse who snatched at the ball and shot wide. A frustrated Culina was up off his chair remonstrating that an unmarked Abbas was available on the left hand side which would have given him a one on one opportunity.

Newcastle were given a scare in the 68th minute when Daniel Mullins received a ball in the box from Sergio Van Dijk but the Dutchman was called offside and the goal was disallowed. As the game continued, Newcastle began to tire and Kasey Wehrman put a heavy challenge on Paul Reid and received Newcastle-s first yellow card of the season. The match then entered a stalemate with both sides creating a number of half chances before the referee blew the full time whistle.

Despite a lack of goals, the game was a positive for coach Branko Culina who commented “I was happy with the way we played against a difficult opponent. They have a good history of winning their opening games of the season – so it is good to get a point. The whole team did very well, you have to consider we were the away team and we were the ones playing football”.

The Newcastle Jets will play their next game in Newcastle on Friday 13th August and will be monitoring Nikolai Topor-Stanley after he suffered a knee injury. When asked about the injury Culina stated “we don-t know how bad it is, we will have to wait 48 hours. The doctors did not think it was serious, he could run but he could not jump”. The Newcastle Jets will be pleased with the performance coming away from Hindmarsh Stadium with one point an optimistic start to the season.

Match Details:
Newcastle Jets: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE 42-), 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI 8. Michael BRIDGES (c), 10. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 15. Sean ROONEY (14. Labinot HALITI 81-) 19. Ali ABASS (16. Jeremy BROCKIE 71-),
Unused substitutes: 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk)
Yellow cards: Kasey WEHRMAN 76-
Red cards: Nil

Adelaide United: 1. Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 3. Nigel BOOGARD 4. Ian FYFE, 9. Daniel MULLEN, 10. CASSIO, 7. Lucas PANTELIS (c) (Inseob SHIN 85-), 8. Adam HUGHES, 12. Paul REID (24. Cameron WATSON 85-) 17. Iain RAMSEY, 19. Matthew LECKIE
Unused substitutes: Francesco MONTEROSSO
Yellow cards: Matthew LECKIE 43-, Paul REID 44-,
Red cards: Nil

Adelaide United: 0
Newcastle Jets: 0
Referee: Gerard PARSONS
Crowd: 8,479