Sunday, 18 October 2015

MATCH REVIEW: Newcastle Jets 0-1 Sydney FC

I've decided to change up the site's format for A-League Match Reviews. I'll be doing my best to write a review for every Newcastle Jets game, home and away, and maybe one or two others here and there. There's simply not enough demand at the moment to warrant writing too much material on the other clubs and this is a Newcastle-based site.

With that being said, I'll be doing a weekly A-League review where I say a few things about each and every game and I'll be doing Man of the Match votes for each and every game. 


Ty Stedman


Another strong performance from the new-look Newcastle Jets but at the end of the day it was a home loss for Scott Miller's men and they won't be pleased with not being able to hold on for the latter part of the match. It wasn't quite the seven-goal thriller these sides produced last season but it was a nail-biter towards the end.

Sydney FC in the end deserved the victory in this reporter's eyes and bossed a fair portion of the game. Despite that, you'd be excused for feeling the same way as Jets' gaffer Scott Miller did during the week when he criticised Graham Arnold's tactics. Let's face it, Sydney dominated possession but they failed to really attack until the latter stages of the match.

Talking points of the first half included the Jets' disallowed goal that on further replay was correctly ruled offside. Jason Hoffman's header was quality but the fullback has to work on his timing as he was just slightly offside. 

The only other major talking point of the first half came when Ben Kantarovski nearly broke Chris Naumoff's ankle with his dangerous and quite frankly wreckless sliding challenge. 'Kanta' had a decent game in the centre of defence but that challenge could and probably should have seen him sent off. No-one could blame Graham Arnold for showing some anger towards the challenge and it'd be great to see these sort of tackles eliminated from our game.

The Jets had one or two flashes of brilliance and look to be a much-improved outfit under the guidance of Miller and they would have been delighted with how they were handling what was a dangerous Sydney FC side. Chris Naumoff was given a rare starting berth and he didn't disappoint, troubling the Jets throughout the match.

Sydney's best last week and arguably their best again this week was Brandon O'Neill. His work in the Sydney midfield has been crucial over the opening two rounds and no doubt the former Perth man will continue to improve as the weeks tick by.

Milos Trifunovic was again the target man up front for the Jets and showed some signs that he will be a quality goalscorer this year. Along with fellow newcomer Leonardo, the Jets definitely have some goals coming this year and fans should feel like the turning point has arrived for the club.

Sydney's Rhyan Grant had a quality game at left back but when Alex Gersbach was brought on, the dynamic changed and the Olyroo produced one or two quality runs to help take his side towards goal. A quality build-up from Sydney saw captain Alex Brosque smash substitute goalkeeper Ben Kennedy's post and it was no doubt a warning shot from the Sky Blues.

Two minutes later the dagger was driven into the hearts of the 12,000 or so Jets fans in attendance as a Gersbach corner was met by an unmarked Brosque and the captain made no mistake. Ben Kennedy got a hand to it but he wasn't able to stop it from going in. In hindsight it was a deserved lead for Sydney as they were starting to create a fair few good chances.

All in all, a quality showing from the Jets but Sydney were too good and got over the line late on. Lots of positives to take out for the Novocastrians though.


I wanted to make a separate point and give my thoughts on the situation with injured Jets keeper Mark Birighitti. It was crushing to see Birraz suffer another facial injury and brought back memories of his awkward collision with Jeremy Brockie two seasons ago.

I didn't see any malice in the challenge but there needs to be a point where the striker simply has to pull out. Scott Miller's words were correct after the game. Smeltz has made this mistake before and whilst it wasn't something he was aiming to do, he should be punished for it. Accident or not, Smeltz should be banned for a couple of games to send a warning and show the league that these sort of challenges shouldn't happen.

I know a lot of people would have seen the footage and photos and it's quiet confronting to see Birighitti in such obvious pain. At the end of the day, a goalkeeper is going to miss a fair chunk of the season, whether it be a month or more I'm not sure, but something needs to be done.

And on that note, something should also be done with Sebastian Ryall. This is twice in two years he's been accused of simulating inside the penalty box and whilst it gained Sydney a penalty last year, this time round it was turned down and Ryall saw yellow. It's letting down his teammates and the club by taking dives and it's only going to cost him in the end because referees will stop trusting him and eventually when he is impeded, it will be waved away. A week's ban should be handed to anyone caught simulating in the box. It'd quickly eliminate it from the league.


Man of the Match: Brandon O'Neill (Sydney FC)

Just like last week, Sydney FC newcomer Brandon O'Neill was highly effective in the heart of Sydney's midfield and the Perth-born Brit looks to be a player that Graham Arnold is going to keep fielding in the A-League and it will be welcomed for O'Neill after he failed to break into the Perth Glory first team last season.

I actually had the pleasure of meeting O'Neill after the match and credit to him for ignoring a phone call to have a quick chat and take a photo. I actually wanted a photo with one of my favourite non-Jets players in Alex Gersbach and did get one but O'Neill was a genuine friendly fellow off the field and he'd be the sort of player you'd want at your club.

Meeting one of my favourite non-Jets players Alex Gersbach.
Newysports' Man of the we don't give out giant cardboard cheques!----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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