Stubbins bouyed by clean sheet


Newcastle Jets head coach Phil Stubbins says his side will draw confidence from picking up their first clean sheet of the Hyundai A-League season against Sydney FC at WIN Stadium on Saturday night.

The Jets began 2015 with a hard-earned 0-0 draw against the Sky Blues at WIN Stadium.

Sydney had a host of chances in the first 45 minutes but were unable to find a way past Jets ‘keeper Ben Kennedy.

“The clean sheet was great for us… I think in the second half we held sway in the game and perhaps on another night we might have scored a goal,” Stubbins said.

“I think overall, taking the first half into account, we came away with a point, a clean sheet and had some opportunites to win the game.”

Stubbins tweaked things at the break, going to four at the back and asking his players to ‘relax’ which saw an improved performance in the second half.

“Overall the boys lifted. What was said at half-time was relax. We gave the ball away and turned things over in positions that we don’t need to and then we bring the pressure on ourselves.

“We held possession a lot better in the second half and created chances through good football and we’ll take a lot out of that.”

Stubbins said playmaker Marcos Flores – who was again left out of the match-day squad – was too much of a risk to play but he will be “100 percent” following the three week Asian Cup break.

More than 11,000 fans turned up at neutral Wollongong to watch the match, with Stubbins impressed by the support for football on the South Coast.

“It was fantastic. Sydney had a good support, very vocal and the stadium was magnificent,” Stubbins said.

“The curator and the people in charge of the stadium and the pitch was outstanding and they deserve a lot of credit.

“It was a big plus for the A-League tonight…it was a 0-0 draw but certainly not a drab one.”