Jets beat Adelaide 1-0 in A-League
Tarek Elrich scored his first goal of the season to give Newcastle Jets a 1-0 victory over Adelaide United on Friday night, effectively putting United out of contention for the A-League finals.
The Jets, at least temporarily, climbed over the Melbourne Heart and Sydney FC into 5th spot on the table.
Adelaide's night took a turn for the worse when Francisco Usucar limped out of a challenge with an injured hamstring after 19 minutes, forcing coach John Kosmina to make an early change.
Persistent fouling from both teams created a stop start affair but when Jeremy Brockie hit a shot over the bar on 34 minutes after some good lead-up play from Ryan Griffiths it was clear the home side felt Adelaide's defence was tiring.
The deadlock was broken five minutes later when Elrich slotted home his first of the season after great vision from Francis Jeffers.
Neither side created any real scoring opportunities in the second half.
Newcastle's Michael Bridges went close late with a strong volley only just off target but he was offside.
While pleased with the result, Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond conceded his men should have finished off Adelaide earlier in the match.
"With the amount of possession we had in the first half we should have created more and probably had more shots on goal," said van Egmond.
"The question now becomes what we do with all our possession. We have got to be more creative in our front third and it is definitely something we will work on during the week."
While reluctant to single out individuals, van Egmond had praise for the returning Ben Kantarovski who, despite only stepping off a plane from Dubai early in the morning, put in an impressive effort.
"He gave us 45 minutes of good quality and I thought he did extremely well. That's the type of players we want here at Newcastle, people who put the team and the club first. It was a fantastic effort for a young fella to come out and do what he did," van Egmond said.
Adelaide United coach John Kosmina was pleased with his charges' efforts but was disappointed by the result.
"The guys put in the effort tonight, it's not like we're playing badly. We played enough good football in the game to deserve a result, or at least some kind of an outcome from the match," said Kosmina.
"We make one silly mistake in a game and it seems to cost us every single week. Football is a game of mistakes, and it's often who makes the least mistakes wins."
While refusing to blame fatigue, Kosmina acknowledged that having to make an injury change so early made the game a lot tougher for his side.
"Having to make the change so early in the match tonight hurt us a lot," said Kosmina.