Bridges shows his class for youth side

FORMER Leeds United striker Michael Bridges starred for a 10-man National Youth League Jets side, scoring two goals and setting up Newcastle’s other in a 3-1 win over Sydney FC at Leichhardt Oval yesterday.

Bridges, 34, who has has come off the bench three times this year for the A-League side but was unused in the win over Western Sydney on Saturday, scored early in each half.

He then set up Brazilian import Bernardo Ribeiro with a cross to make it 3-0 in the 75th minute.

Sydney scored a consolation goal through Aaron Calver with 10 minutes to go.

Bridges gave the Jets the lead in the third minute when he finished off a great run down the right from Andrew Hoole. Newcastle were down to 10 men in the 19th minute, after A-League defender Taylor Regan brought down a runaway Alec Urosevski on the edge of the penalty box. Despite the red card, the Jets continued their dominance to take a 1-0 half-time lead.

Bridges made it 2-0 in the 47th minute when he found the top right corner with a cracking strike from the edge of the penalty area.

Jets youth coach Clayton Zane said Bridges, who played the full game, was a class above everyone in the round-four match yesterday.

Zane said Ribeiro was another standout in his 90-minute performance.

The win was the Jets’ second of the year and came after a 3-2 victory over a strong Perth side in Inglewood.

Goalkeeper Matt Nash, defender Sam Gallaway  and James Virgili were other A-League-contracted players in the Jets line-up. Sydney also had several first-team players but were without Jason Culina.

The former Jets marquee player is on the comeback from two years on the sidelines with knee problems and had his first game on Tuesday for Sydney in a friendly against Western Sydney.

 Newcastle next meet the Australian Institute of Sport side on Saturday morning at Wanderers Oval. The Jets can play only youth league-aged players against the AIS.

Zane said the match would be a good test for his young squad.

Newcastle’s five Young 

Socceroos may be available, depending how they fare in the under-19 Asian championship in the United Arab Emirates this week. 

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