Match Reports

The top-of-the-table clash did not disappoint this week as South Coast Flame FC came from behind twice to snatch a 2-2 draw at home to the Newcastle Jets.

Neither side was able to fashion a chance early, with Mitchell Turner unable to find a teammate for the Flame on the break early, while a mistake from Flame goalkeeper Jordan Bruce went unpunished by the Jets.

In the 9th minute, the Jets’ Angus Muddle picked up the ball on the edge of the box and fired a shot towards the near post, but his powerful effort was saved well by Bruce.

The Jets held the ball well in the opening 15 minutes, while both teams looked to use their pace in behind.

The match had settled with no chances for the next 20 minutes in a tense affair with good defence at a hot Sir Ian McLennan Oval, with the early kick-off playing its part.

The next chance came in the 32nd minute when the Flame’s Michael Trajkovski got in behind and lobbed Jets’ goalkeeper, Zac Bowling, from outside the box, but the goal was ruled out for offside.

The Flame defence had stepped up well to stop the Jets’ consistent attacks until it was breached in the 40th minute.

The Jets worked their way through the midfield and found Janni Rafty on the right wing; he cut inside onto his left foot inside the box and fired the ball into the top-left corner to give the Jets a 1-0 lead – the Jets had made their weight of possession count to lead 1-0 at half-time.

The Jets started the second half brightly, but it was the Flame who made their first chance of the half count through some Deja vu.

In the 52nd minute, Genki Iwata got on the ball on the right, cut onto his left foot inside the box and fired the ball into the top-left corner with an almost-identical effort to Rafty’s goal to level the match at 1-1.

The Jets had the next chance when Xavier Bertoncello lobbed an effort just to the left of the target over an onrushing Bruce; the match then started to fire up with hard tackles across the pitch and an increase in noise from the crowd.

The Flame created a few dangerous situations without scoring from there, including a chance for Trajkovski, which he struck right at Bowling.

Both sides started to tire in the heat, which is where substitutes became important in the contest.

Jyden Harb almost had an immediate impact off the bench for the Flame with a shot from 20 yards which missed wide of the right post, but it was the Jets who started to overrun the Flame in the final 10 minutes of regulation time.

That pressure told in the 83rd minute when Kierry James set Will Dobson in behind the Flame defence; he slotted the ball in at the near post to give Newcastle a 2-1 lead late.

That lead was threatened four minutes later, however, when a handball by Jets’ captain, Ben Van Dorssen, inside the box gave the Flame the opportunity to equalise from the penalty spot.

Trajkovski converted the spot kick with an effort into the top-left corner, past the outstretched dive of Bowling, to restore parity in the contest at 2-2.

The match opened up late with good deliveries in behind for the Flame, while the Jets had a counter stopped by the onrushing Bruce.

Rafty had the last chance for the Jets in the second minute of stoppage time when he got in behind, but his effort was saved well by Bruce.

Neither side was able to find the winner late – both teams kept their unbeaten starts to the season alive after a contest where both sides had their chances to win.

Both teams had used their pace well with their technical abilities in the heat but had to settle for a 2-2 draw.

Speaking post-match, Flame Head Coach Andrew Paine was full of praise for the Jets for the contest his side had with them.

“Newcastle move the ball and have technical ability, the likes of which we have not seen so far this year.”

Paine was also full of credit for his team for the fight they showed in the match to come from behind twice to draw.

“Credit to our boys for persevering… when you are towards the top, you have just got to play these other top teams and try to get something from the game.”

Meanwhile, Newcastle Jets Head Coach Damian Zane was also full of praise for his side’s opponent.

“It is a long trip so if you said we would get a point, I would have been okay with that – they are the real deal, so they are going to be one of the teams vying for the top, I think.”

Zane is expecting the fight to be tough every week in the league.

“This year, it is a more balanced league, a lot of teams have improved, and I think there is going to be more teams fighting at the top.”

South Coast Flame FC will hope to continue their unbeaten start to the season when they travel to face Prospect United SC next week, while the Newcastle Jets will hope to do the same when they make the trip to face Parramatta FC.

South Coast Flame FC 2 (Genki Iwata 52’; Michael Trajkovski 87’)

Newcastle Jets 2 (Janni Rafty 40’; Will Dobson 83’)

In the earlier game, Flame Under 20’s went down 2-1 to a late goal after making a bright start.

Liam Hoyn made an incredible weaving run beating several defenders in the opening minutes before blasting a shot that hit the post. Moments later, Antonio Sansone scored a cracker which gave the Newcastle Jets goalkeeper no chance.

Both sides traded chances in the first half with Jay De Gouveia going closest with a strike against the post.

The Jets showed fighting spirit and equalised on 64 minutes after some neat lead up work.

The Jets completed the comeback with an 88th minute goal after Rocco Zinnato produced a fine save only to see Kurtis White nod it in from close range.

It was a gutsy performance from the boys and we are sure they will learn from this heartbreaking experience.


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