Newcastle Jets Youth coach Clayton Zane said his focus was on performance for the first half of the Northern NSW National Premier League season, but the pressure was on to get results in the second half.
The last-placed Jets Youth laid the platform for that campaign when they stunned leaders Lambton Jaffas 2-1 on Saturday at Edden Oval to end round one with their first win of the season.
Kristian Brymora scored in the 18th minute with a one-on-one chance on a quick counter-attack and repeated the effort off a through ball from Cody Carroll in the 66th.
Jaffas captain Jobe Wheelhouse scored with a clever chipped ball to the back post from a tight angle in the 76th minute for 2-1. The hosts then finished with a flurry, hitting the woodwork twice, without finding the equaliser.
Zane said the win was a boost for his players, who had come through three draws and two one-goal losses.
“I believe in what we’re trying to do and we haven’t been far off it,” Zane said.
“You need a couple of results to go your way to turn things around, so it was good. And today was a really good performance, which is the main thing.
“Sometimes our performance has been good and we’ve not come away with anything, and they’re young and it’s hard to convince them to keep doing it and eventually it will come, so it was nice today, top versus bottom, to spring an upset.”
He was pleased with the defensive effort given their troubles at the back but believed they should have won by more.
“We should have had it wrapped up by then,” he said of the Jaffas’ late charge.
“I think we had five or six one-on-ones, so it should have been dead and buried.”
He said the first half of the season was about getting his side to understanding how he wanted them to play “but they still have to learn how to win games, so in this second half I want to put more pressure on them to win games.
“Hopefully we can pick up some more points because we really should be on more than six.
“That’s the next part now. To get them to step up and be more ruthless.”
At Cahill Oval, teenager Dean Pettit was the hero again for Valentine, scoring a goal deep in injury time to beat Weston 2-1.
Pettit scored twice off the bench to lift Valentine to a 4-2 win over Newcastle Suns in the FFA Cup on Wednesday night, and he was on the spot to strike home the winner on Saturday from a flicked-on header.
It was Pettit’s maiden NPL goal and came after Josh Murray scored his first, in the 10th minute off a Chris Brown cross.
Weston equalised via a Jake Barner penalty strike late in the first half after Daniel Minors brought down Chris Hurley on the edge of the box.
Valentine assistant Sam Griffin said they “had unearthed a gem” in Pettit, who has shown great composure under pressure in front of goals.
The win lifted Valentine to second on 19 points, one point behind the Jaffas.
On Sunday in round 11, Adamstown play Maitland at Adamstown Oval, two-time defending dual premiers Edgeworth have the chance to finish the first round on top with a win over Lake Macquarie at Macquarie Field and Broadmdeadow take on Hamilton at Magic Park.