Jets scrape past Northern NSW

THE Newcastle Jets scraped through with a 2-1 win over the Northern NSW Select side last night in a scrappy game at Adamstown Oval.

The NNSW side, featuring four Jets youth players in its starting line-up, put in a strong defensive performance to frustrate Gary van Egmond and his charges.

Brazilian import Bernardo Ribeiro, who arrived yesterday, watched the match but was not available for the Herald to interview.

Unlike last month, when the Jets beat NNSW 6-0, the Jets managed a one-goal victory thanks to a late Connor Chapman strike.

Chapman unlocked the NNSW defence with a strong run upfield, the impressive youngster trading passes with fellow substitute Marko Jesic before slotting the ball into the net after 75 minutes.

NNSW coach Damien Smith said he was proud of his side’s effort considering they only had one training session together.

‘‘The commitment was excellent and I think we were unlucky not to get something [from the match],’’ he said.

‘‘I thought the Jets youth boys all did well, especially Dino [Fajkovic] and Andrew Hoole. Carl Thornton and Josh Piddington were also strong in defence.’’

Smith said the Jets’ passing game was probably hampered by the bumpy pitch.

‘‘Their final third play was a bit hit and miss though it could have been the ground. The conditions definitely favoured us,’’ Smith said.

‘‘But I’m very happy with the lads, they caused the Jets a few problems and defensively as a unit we did very well.’’

NNSW took a surprise lead about 10 minutes in after Mark Birighitti’s attempted clearance smacked into defender Josh Mitchell and looped back over his head, leaving Broadmeadow Magic’s Scott Pettit with an easy tap-in.

The Jets were denied a penalty in the first half when James Virgili appeared to be felled in the box by keeper Chris Bowling.

The Jets came out strongly in the second half. Ruben Zadkovich hit the crossbar with a stinging effort before Taggart levelled after being put through by captain Jobe Wheelhouse.

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