Jets youth team caught short after keeper sent off

NEW RESPECT: Dino Fajkovic.
NEW RESPECT: Dino Fajkovic.

JETS youth team coach Clayton Zane hopes common sense will prevail after the farcical situation yesterday in which striker Dino Fajkovic was forced to play in goals for most of the 4-2 loss to Hamilton Olympic at Darling St Oval.

The Jets were reduced to 10 men in the 18th minute when keeper James Fogarty was given a straight red card after he cleaned up Olympic striker Clayton Poole just outside the penalty area.

Fogarty had come in to the starting side in place of Jack Duncan, who is one of four Jets in Indonesia with the Australian under-20 team.

Under Northern NSW State League regulations, the Jets were unable to call in a replacement from the NSWIS program team, who play in the under-19s competition in the Jets’ place, leaving them without a back-up keeper.

‘‘You hope the season is going to pass by and it won’t be a problem,’’ said Zane who was in charge for his first game yesterday.

‘‘It ruined the match.

‘‘The programs flow through to each other. The next step from NSWIS is the youth team. It makes sense to give them the experience, especially in circumstances like this.

‘‘We need to try and sort something out.’’

Fogarty receives an automatic two-game suspension. There is general bye this weekend due to the State Cup finals in Coffs Harbour. Duncan will be back for the clash against Weston on July 23, but as was the case yesterday, he will not have a back-up.

The Jets faced a similar situation early in the season when injuries and the late arrival of players meant they had just two players on the bench.

Rather than reach into the NSWIS squad, they recruited extra players from State League clubs.

Northern NSW Football chief executive David Eland said at the time that regulations separating the Jets and NSWIS were organised in consultation with the clubs and would not be changed mid-season.

The scores were locked at 1-all yesterday when Fajkovic took over in goal, having equalised for the Jets two minutes earlier.

He tipped a Tom Walker free kick over the bar with his first touch.

But by half-time he had retrieved two balls from the back of the net as Olympic grabbed a 3-1 lead.

Fajkovic was at fault for the second, sending an attempted clearance straight to Olympic striker John Majurovski who slotted home from 15 metres.

‘‘I have a new respect for keepers,’’ said Fajkovic, who had never played in goals before yesterday.

‘‘It so different. Knowing when to come out, judging crosses ... the whole lot.’’

Despite being a man down, the Jets continued to push hard and got a goal back on the hour through replacement Blake Green.

But Poole ensured there would be no miracle comeback three minutes later when he headed home a Walker cross at the back post.

The loss was the Jets’ third of the campaign and they have now been joined on 29 points by Olympic, who stretched their winning sequence to eight games.

Olympic coach Mick Bolch had nothing but admiration for the Jets.

‘‘You can’t give them enough credit,’’ he said.

‘‘They are young kids but they were still going at the end harder than we were with 11 men.

‘‘Overall I was very happy with our boys. We identified areas we wanted to squeeze them and the boys stuck to the game plan. It was important for us to get that fourth goal.’’

Elsewhere yesterday, Scott Smith scored a hat-trick as Charlestown City overpowered West Wallsend 5-1 after scores were level early in the second half.

Nathan Morris converted from the penalty spot after Jason Cowburn was pulled back in the box to seal a 2-1 win for Weston over Valentine Phoenix at Bear Park and a 10-man Lake Macquarie went down 2-0 to resurgent Edgeworth at Macquarie Field. On Saturday, Broadmeadow Magic beat South Cardiff 1-0.