Jets down NQ All Stars in Townsville

The Newcastle Jets defeated the North Queensland All Stars 3-0 in their final match at the Townsville Football Cup on Saturday night.

Determined to finish their time in Townsville on a positive note, the Jets had the first opportunity of the match in the 8th minute.

James Virgili whipped a cross in from the right flank towards Edson Montano, only for the Ecuadorian’s side footed volley to be blocked by the NQ All Stars defence.

Moments later, Joel Griffiths won possession on the edge of the NQ All Stars penalty area, before squaring a ball across the goal mouth towards Craig Goodwin at the back post.

However, Goodwin was unable to make meaningful contact with his left-footed shot and the chance went begging.

In his first game back from a serious knee injury, Scott Neville was the next Jets player to try his luck, hitting a goal bound volley from the edge of the area that was deflected for a corner in the 11th minute.

Five minutes later, Neville did get his name on the score sheet, with a precise header from a Craig Goodwin corner that gave the Jets a 1-0 lead.

Montano almost double the Jets’ lead in the 18th minute, making a clever run in behind the NQ All Stars defence, only to be denied by a sharp reflex save from NQ All Stars keeper Joe Simons, who deflected the ball for a corner with his outstretched right foot.

The NQ All Stars best chance of the first half came in the 23rd minute following some neat build-up play, which culminated in Jake Navarro laying the ball off for Jonathon Bagley on the edge of area.

However, Jets defender Sam Gallagher intervened with a crucial block to deny Bagley’s goal-bound effort.

A short time later, Gallagher was involved down the other end of the park, swinging in a cross from the right towards Taylor Regan, who was unable to hit the target with his header.

The Jets made it 2-0 in the 34th minute of the contest after Virgili dribbled into the penalty area from the right wing, before cutting the ball back into the path of Goodwin, who finished from point blank range.

Newcastle nearly had their third goal of the contest in almost identical fashion right on the stroke of half-time.

On this occasion, it was Neville who managed to penetrate in behind the NQ All Stars defence, before cutting the ball back to Griffiths whose side-footed effort was miraculously cleared off the line by Matthew Carey.

A raft of substitutions shortly after the half-time break took much of the sting out of the fixture.

However, it was one of those substitutes in the form of David Carney who almost set up the Jets’ third goal in the 56th minute.

Carney swung in a dangerous cross from the right, which was spilt by Simons under pressure from Goodwin, but the NQ All Stars goalkeeper recovered in time to stop the ball crossing the goal line.

Montano had a chance to add his name to the score sheet in the 65th minute after brilliantly controlling a ball into the box from Jacob Pepper with his chest.

However, the Ecuadorian could not control his attempted volley on the turn, sending it high and wide of the target.

The NQ All Stars had an opportunity to get a goal back in the 67th minute, with Josh Searle playing in Ryan Mottin, however the NQ All Stars captain dragged his shot inches wide with only Ben Kennedy to beat.

A short time later, Carney was in the thick of the action again, chipping a ball towards Griffiths at the back, only for the striker to direct his header straight into the hands of Simons.

A minute later, Griffiths picked out the smart run of 17-year-old Northern Fury trialist Bradeyn Crowley, but the youngster pulled his shot across the goal from a tight angle.

Carney was twice thwarted by replacement NQ All Stars goalkeeper Harry Hickey in the dying stages, firstly by a reflex save from point blank range in the 77th minute, before the goalkeeper pulled off a diving stop to keep out the former Socceroos’ powerful drive from the edge of the area in the 84th minute.

Griffiths put the finishing touches on a solid display from the Jets in the 88th minute after latching onto Jacob Pepper’s through ball, before round the goalkeeper and finishing into an empty net to make the final score 3-0.

Newcastle Jets 3 (Neville 16’, Goodwin 34’, Griffiths 88’)

North Queensland All Stars 0