Undefeated Jets spoil Spider’s party

The Jets have defeated Sydney United 2-0 in Zeljko Kalac’s farewell match.

The Newcastle Jets have defeated a star-studded Sydney United side 2-0 this evening, claiming their third consecutive pre-season victory in the process.

In a dominant performance, the Jets struck twice in the first half through wingers Ali Abbas and Jeremy Brockie. For the home side, the match was an opportunity to bid a fond farewell to former Qantas Socceroo Zeljko Kalac and also featured former greats Craig Moore, Tony Popovic, Ante Milicic and Mark Rudan.

Indeed, the scoreline could have been greater were it not for some superb saves by United ‘keeper Kalac. The first of which came in the 10th minute when Jets skipper Michael Bridges played in his strike partner Labinot Haliti, whose low strike at the near post was parried away brilliantly by the man known as “Spider”.

Moments later, though, and the visitors would open their account when Kasey Wehrman knocked a signature pinpoint pass through the United defence for Brockie to run on to. The New Zealand international unselfishly played the ball across the face of goal when one-on-one with Kalac, allowing Abbas the simplest of tap-ins.

The Jets looked to release the shackles once the lead was theirs, and even defensive midfielder Ben Kantarovski looked to get in on the act midway through the half. The 18-year-old picked the ball up deep inside his own half before going on a mazy run that would see him skip past five defenders before laying off a crisp ball for Bridges. The Englishman was unable to double the Jets- advantage though, with Kalac again coming to United-s rescue.

The visitors would ultimately claim their second goal with the halftime whistle approaching, and this time Brockie would be the recipient of some fine lead-up work by his teammates. After an extended period of possession, the ball was worked onto the left flank where Adam D-Apuzzo whipped in a vicious cross for Brockie to head home at the far post.

In a huge positive for the Hunter-based club, the second stanza allowed for the return from injury of Jobe Wheelhouse and Ruben Zadkovich, though with no less than nine substitutions in total the Jets perhaps lacked the cutting edge that they displayed in the first period.

The best chances of the half fell to Wheelhouse and fellow substitute Sasho Petrovski late in the game. However, the pair both saw their efforts sail inches over the bar, keeping the score at 2-nil.

After picking up three wins on the bounce, the Jets will take on Central Coast Mariners this Thursday at Frank Millington Field, Budgewoi with kick-off scheduled for 11am.

Match Details:
Newcastle Jets: 2 (Abbas 14-, Brockie 38-)
Sydney United: 0