Roar draw for Jets

Jean Carlos Solorzano struck a late equaliser as Brisbane escaped EnergyAustralia Stadium with a 1-1 draw against the Newcastle Jets on Wednesday night.

A late goal to Costa Rican Jean Carlos Solorzano has allowed the Brisbane Roar to escape EnergyAustralia Stadium with a 1-1 draw against the Newcastle Jets in an entertaining Hyundai A-League clash on Wednesday night.

Newcastle dominated proceedings from the outset with Roar goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos keeping his side in the match during a first-half that saw the Jets pepper the Brisbane goal.

Newcastle deservedly took the lead via a Ben Kantarovski header in the 53rd minute before the Roar went close when Mitch Nichols hit the post on the hour mark.

Brisbane eventually equalised when Solorzano benefitted from an Ivan Franjic break down the right wing. Newcastle almost grabbed a late winner via Ruben Zadkovich but in the end the teams shared the spoils.

The draw sees the Roar extend their unbeaten streak to 11 matches to remain at the top of the Hyundai A-League table while the Jets remain in ninth place, five points out of the top six.

Jets head coach Brano Culina said he thought his side should have won the match.

“I am disappointed for the players because I think we deserved the three points tonight,” he said after the match.

“It (the performance) is probably not going to get the respect and attention that it deserves because it is not the three points. Had it been the three points, people would have taken more notice.”

Meanwhile, Roar coach Ange Postucoglou said he was proud of his side’s never-say-die attitude.

“I thought it was a fantastic effort that the boys put in,” he said. “We could have easily lain down if we wanted to but once again it was fantastic spirit shown and I am really proud of them tonight.”

The match started in perfect conditions in front of a healthy mid-week crowd in Newcastle and it was the home side who took control of the match from the opening whistle.

A deft through ball from Jets midfielder Kasey Wherman put Marko Jesic – who scored twice on the weekend against Adelaide – through on goal in just the seventh minute, but his toe poke was smothered by Theoklitos.

The Jets threatened again five minutes later when skipper Ljubo Milicevic got himself involved in an attacking raid. The Roar defence failed to clear adequately and Milicevic headed the ball back into the area where Ali Abbas had his shot blocked at the near post.

Newcastle’s English import Francis Jeffers almost stole the opening goal a few moments later when Theoklitos showed too much of the ball to the wily striker who managed to dispossess the Brisbane custodian, only to slip when trying to retrieve the loose ball as the Roar defence scrambled it to safety.

The Roar had their first shot on goal in the 21st minute when Reinaldo managed to shake off Milicevic and shoot from just outside the area. But he could only fire the ball into the waiting arms of Newcastle goalkeeper Ben Kennedy.

Juts moments later Theoklitos was forced to make a fine diving save when Ben Kanatrovski fired a lovely curling shot from the corner of the penalty area. From the ensuing corner the Roar keeper showed good positional play to deny Milicevic’s goal-bound header.

Down the other end the Roar started to create a few chances of their own. Kantarovski almost put the ball into his own net from a dangerous Thomas Broich free-kick in the 32nd minute before a great reflex save from Kennedy denied Reinaldo when the big striker managed to get in behind the Jets defence as the teams headed to half-time locked at 0-0.

Newcastle finally took the lead eight minutes into the second half via a set piece.

Consecutive corners kept the Roar under pressure and on the third occasion Wehrman delivered a good ball to the near post where Kantarovski worked in front of Franjic to head home his first goal for the club.

The goal seemed to create some urgency in the Brisbane side and they pressed hard in attack and went within a whisker of levelling the match. The Jets defence cleared a Broich corner as far as Mitch Nichols on the edge of the area and he fired a low left-footed shot that beat Kennedy only to crash into the post before Tarek Elrich swatted the ball to safety.

The home side almost doubled their advantage in the 67th minute when Kantarosvki put Jeffers through on goal, but the Englishman looked exhausted and had a lethargic shot parried away by Roar defender Matthew Smith before he was replaced a moment later.

Brisbane never gave up and duly levelled the match in the 80th minute. A sublime pass from defender Erik Paartalu put Franjic away down the right flank and he drew the defence before sending in a lovely cross for substitute striker Solorzano to tap in the equaliser.

Newcastle went close to snatching a late winner when Wehrman delivered a lovely ball for Zadkovich to unleash a vicious right-foot volley from inside the penalty area but Theoklitos was able to deflect the ball into the near post and away to see the teams share the points.

Newcastle Jets 1 (Kantarovski 53)
Brisbane Roar 1 (Solorzano 80)
Crowd: 7829 at EnergyAustralia Stadium