Perth and Newcastle in 0-0 A-League draw
Perth Glory and the Newcastle Jets opened their A-League accounts for 2013-14 with an uninspiring scoreless draw at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
The first-round losers created few genuine chances between them until the game opened up in the final 20 minutes.
Newcastle thought themselves unlucky not to gain a shot at a winner on 87 minutes when Nathan Burns went down in the area after a challenge from Jack Clisby.
There appeared to be contact but referee Shaun Evans waved off cries for a penalty.
Both sides had shots on goal denied, especially in the final half-hour.
The best stop came from Jets keeper Mark Birighitti in the 81st minute when he dived full stretch to block Brazilian Sidnei Sciola's strike.
Jets coach Gary van Egmond, who said he did not have a good view of the challenge on Burns, bemoaned his side's lack of killer instinct in front of goal and movement off the ball.
"We created a number of opportunities but unfortunately didn't take them, but it is encouraging," van Egmond said.
"Still, I thought the football was poor, the way in which we played.
"People looked nervous, not just us but the other side as well. It looked like a game both sides didn't want to lose, rather than a team wanting to win.
"Not all players were in that boat but there were a few in there who didn't put their hand up and have a real dip."
Perth coach Alistair Edwards was pleased with the draw away from home and his team's improvement after a poor first half.
"The front four guys caused a bit of havoc in the last half an hour and with some better finishing we should have got on the scoresheet," Edwards said.
"We weren't particularly happy with our first half, we didn't hold onto the ball as well as we wanted to.
"But we had some discussions at halftime and made some adjustments ... and played very well."
Jamie Maclaren had several chances for Glory, including a one-on-one effort blocked by best on field Scott Neville in the 77th minute.
Edwards was confident the goals would come from Maclaren as the season went on and praised his work ethic and positioning.
The Jets were clearly the better side in the first half but failed to capitalise.
Returning striker Michael Bridges hit a free header well wide in the ninth minute, while Neville and Kew Jaliens also nodded crosses off target.
Craig Goodwin had the best chance of the half when his shot off a Adam Taggart cross forced a diving stop from Danny Vukovic in the 45th minute.
Jaliens came off in the 56th minute with a corked thigh, the only injury from the game.
Both sides were missing key men up front to injury, with Newcastle's Emile Heskey and Perth duo Shane Smeltz and Travis Dodd all sidelined.