Despite a gallant second-half performance, the Newcastle Jets have gone down 2-0 to Melbourne City in Round 15 at AAMI Park.
With plenty of confidence gained from last week’s narrow defeat to league leaders Sydney FC, the Jets started the game on the front foot with Nick Fitzgerald testing Dean Bouzanis in the opening minute from a tight angle, but it was the home side who showed their clinical edge to take the lead after just eight minutes.
After defending a Jets corner, City launched a lightning counter-attack which resulted in Craig Noone bending one past Lewis Italiano from the edge of the box to open the scoring.
As the first half continued, it was a tight affair and ten minutes before halftime, it was another Jets corner which almost saw the visitors draw level when Matt Millar rose highest, but his powerful downward header was saved by Bouzanis as City held on to their one-goal lead at halftime.
The Jets came out in the second half firing led by Panamanian striker Abdiel Arroyo, and it was his bustling run in the 49th minute that created a fantastic opportunity for Jason Hoffman, but the Jets stalwart couldn’t keep his effort down.
Just before the hour mark, Arroyo thought he had levelled proceedings when he showed great strength and a clinical finish, but his effort was correctly ruled out by the offside flag.
Just moments later, the Jets were struck by another cruel blow when City were awarded a penalty after the ball struck Nikolai Topor-Stanley’s hand as he competed for a header in the box.
After VAR review, the penalty was given and Jamie Maclaren doubled his side’s lead against the run of play after 63 minutes.
Dimi Petratos went close to halving the deficit in the 73rd minute when his volley was cleared off the line after an excellent run and cross by Bobby Burns, and as the Jets continued to push for a goal, chances came for Kaine Sheppard, Hoffman and Millar as we once again created plenty of opportunities, but were just unable to find the back of the net as Melbourne City held on to secure the three points.
The Jets now head overseas in Round 16 as they travel to New Zealand to take on Wellington Phoenix on Friday night at Sky Stadium.