NIGEL Boogaard has vowed to keep fighting but the wholehearted Jets skipper admits that the time for talking is over.
They need to produce.
The Jets’ finals hopes are hanging by a thread after a demoralising 4-0 loss to a Tim Cahill-inspired Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
The defeat leaves the Jets stranded in eighth place on 22 points, six points adrift of sixth-placed Western Sydney with four rounds remaining.
The Jets, who have one win in the past eight games, are away to Wellington next, meet Wanderers at home, before road trips to Central Coast and Sydney.
“While ever it is a mathematical chance we will keep fighting,” a clearly deflated Boogaard said after the loss. “It is not all lost. But if we perform like that we are definitely not going to make the six. We keep saying every week that we need to step up and get the job done, but then we let ourselves down. We still have an opportunity but it was a big one for us tonight. Off the back of the result we had in Coffs Harbour, we went in with some confidence. We need a result. There are four games left and if we don’t get something out of Wellington next week, it is pretty much over. Regardless there is still pride to play for, there is the shirt to play for. That is something that needs to be instilled in the club. Every time you put that shirt on you are playing for people back home, playing for the community.”
The Jets weren’t without their chances on Saturday night. Andrew Nabbout missed a golden opportunity before Cahill put the home side ahead in the 10th minute with a signature header at the back post.
Once in front, City switched into cruise mode. At times it was like a training run. They moved the ball with fluency, pushed and probed and found space.
“They make the pitch big and make it hard and have some quality players on the ball,” Boogaard said. “We knew if we started the game well and didn’t give them a goal head-start and some confidence, we were in with a chance. To concede early on, that took the wind out of our sails and it is an uphill battle.”
Still the Jets hung on. They scrambled well and created the odd half chance without finding the final pass. The second half started in similar fashion. Morten Nordstrand, who replaced Aleksandr Kokko at the break, had an early chance but couldn’t latch on to a piercing ball from Ben Kantarovski.
The killer blow arrived in the 65th minute. Anthony Caceres dinked a pass over the top for replacement Nick Fitzgerald who beat Jack Duncan with a toe poke into the left corner. Ten minutes later Bruno Fornaroli added a third from the penalty spot after Daniel Mullen had clipped the heels of Bruce Kamau in the box.
“We were in the game for patches,” Boogaard said. “Even at 2-0, I thought we were playing some decent football. When you concede the third, you are going to struggle to gets three goals back against a team like that.”