Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory played out a cagy encounter ending in a goalless 0-0 draw with clear cut chances coming few and far between.
A fair result as both teams were going out for the win but lacked the quality end product in the final third as it showed on the scoreboard.
Glory started the game brightly, pressing Newcastle high as they tried to build from the back and dominating 57% possession to Newcastle’s 42% – even with spells of 61% to 29%.
The high pressing allowed Perth to win back possession higher up the field and launch counter attacks closer to goal. Sidnei once again like against Adelaide, looked very dangerous every time he had the ball and attacking duo Jamie Maclaren and Ryan Edwards worked tirelessly all day to pressure the ball and continuously create movement in the front third.
Although Maclaren’s work rate was top notch, he and the rest of Glory were limited to just the one shot on target for the first half as Perth struggled to create any clear chances. Newcastle looked dangerous from set pieces and crosses, and Scott Neville’s header from a free kick just went past Danny Vukovic’s left post, but they were also struggling with their game as a whole.
Perth suffered an early blow in the 11th minute with Mr Reliable Josh Risdon forced to be subbed off with an injured knee after falling awkwardly when challenging for a header. Jack Clisby was called into action early and slotted into the right back position even though a left footer, and did very well considering playing out of position and on the wrong side.
Glory’s defensive unit improved remarkably in contrast to last week’s game against Adelaide United with the centre back pairing of Brandon O’Neill and Steve Pantelidis both having very solid games. Scott Jamieson was also good on the left.
With limited possession, the Jets went close once more with Kew Jaliens heading over the crossbar – but the half ended with not a single shot on target.
Perth started the second half in similar fashion with Sidnei causing Newcastle’s defence all sorts of problems with his superb speed at which he attacked. He latched onto a Scott Jamieson cross and forced Jets keeper Mark Birighitti into making a great save.
In the 58th minute Steven McGarry was replaced by Cameron Edwards and Adrian Zahra replaced by Chris Harold who both made their first appearances for the season and also – the first time Glory has seen two brothers being in the same team at the same time.
C.Edwards slotted in well to the number 8 role getting on the ball regularly and spraying effective forward passes, while Chris Harold looked dangerous in attack with his speed.
Just over the 60 minute mark against the run of play saw Sam Gallaway surging down the left, who then hit a cross-come-shot which threw Vukovic off and skimmed off the crossbar, only to land at the feet of Adam Taggart who couldn’t keep his volleyed effort down as he blazed it over the crossbar.
Vukovic was called into action again shortly after as Scott Neville blasted a shot towards his goal but the big shot stopper parried it away and the defence was forced into conceding a corner.
Glory counter-attacked from the corner with some great play in the midfield as Ryan Edwards got it out wide to Maclaren who found Chris Harold with a neat cut back, but his effort was blocked by a sliding Newcastle defender which looked to have hit his arm.
Jamie Maclaren had arguably one of Perth’s best chances in the 76th minute after a defensive lapse from Jacob Pepper left Maclaren with only the keeper to beat, but he unfortunately couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet and his effort was saved by Birighitti.
Glory becoming ever more dangerous with positive possession found Sidnei driving towards the Jets back line and unleashing a venomous strike that was excellently saved by Birighitti who again protected his side from conceding a match-winner and further demise.
Late drama surfaced when a penalty appeal for Newcastle from Clisby’s mistimed tackle on Nathan Burns was waved away by the referee who was perhaps in the wrong position to see that contact was made on Burns.
Both sides enjoyed last minute chances with Perth getting back to back corners in the 93rd minute, but couldn’t find the back of the net. A tense affair ended in both teams settling for their first point each to take into the third round.
Perth have their first home game in their newly renovated nib Stadium next Sunday against Melbourne Heart while Newcastle will travel across the ditch to Wellington also on the Sunday.