Brisbane Roar dropped to second place on the A-League ladder on Sunday, going down 2-1 to Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium on the back of a second-half brace to Jets’ forward Adam Taggart.
Roar’s crew of promising youngsters were out of their depth in the rain-soaked clash, with the sodden conditions catching out defender James Donachie for the match-winning strike in the 74th minute.
Despite having the better of the first half, the conditions hampered Roar’s usually fluent passing game, with several large puddles rendering sections of the pitch particularly perilous as the match wore on.
With the scores locked one-all, Donachie attempted a simple lateral pass in the backline which ground to a halt in a puddle. The high-pressing Taggart pounced on the resulting dead ball, before firing home with his left foot to secure his second goal of the evening.
The strike spared the blushed of Jet Nathan Burns, who saw his penalty kick clang off the crossbar in the 63rd minute, denying him his first goal in Newcastle colours since joining the club on loan from Korean club Incheon United.
Taggart had earlier levelled terms with a sublime goal on 51 minutes, showing strength and pace to hold off defender Matt Smith before delicately chipping the advancing Michael Theo in goal to the delight of the home crowd.
Luke Brattan opened accounts for Roar with a driven strike from a second-phase set-piece in the first half, the 23 year old midfielder’s shot deflecting off at least two Jets players as it pierced the crowded penalty area.
Brisbane went in to the clash understrength, with Socceroos call-ups for Matt McKay and Ivan Franjic further depleting Mike Mulvey’s injury riddled squad that remains without Liam Miller, Shane Stefanutto and Besart Berisha.
The resultant reshuffle saw starts for youngsters James Donachie, Corey Brown, Diogo Ferreira and Dimitri Petratos, while Jade North played in an uncustomary box-to-box midfield role.
Patrick Theodore A-League debut for Roar off the bench, where he was joined by Brandon Borello and last week’s match-winner Kwame Yeboah, who couldn’t repeat his Gosford heroics in a 35 minute spell.
A tense final few minutes resulted in Jets defender Kew Jaliens being initially shown a yellow card by referee Matt Gillet, and then a straight red, for dissent as the pressure started to tell late in the game.
However, Jets held on to the lead to record their second win in a row and move to third place on the A-League table on goal difference.
They remain at home next week when they welcome the struggling Melbourne Heart, while Brisbane returns to Queensland in preparation for a blockbuster top-of-the-table match-up with league-leaders Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night.
Roar will welcome back McKay and Franjic for the Suncorp Stadium clash. Star striker Besart Berisha is also expected to make his return from injury.