Jets steal a point in thriller
Newcastle skipper Jade North has scored a goal in the 94th minute to hand Newcastle Jets a thrilling 3-3 draw against Perth Glory in a pulsating A-League encounter at Members Equity Stadium tonight.
The Glory twice came from behind before grabbing a 3-2 lead in the 81st minute through substitute Nikita Rukavytsya.
But the Glory’s defence crumbled when it mattered most, with North latching on to a hopeful long ball in the dying seconds to drill home the winner, shattering the vocal home crowd of 8876.
It was the second time in as many weeks the Jets had stolen a point at the death, with Joel Griffiths’ last-minute penalty in round one earning Newcastle a 1-1 draw against Central Coast.
After an even start to the match, Newcastle were awarded a controversial penalty in the 19th minute when a lunging tackle from Glory defender Dino Djulbic caught Griffiths just outside the box.
However, referee Craig Zetter pointed to the spot and Griffiths made no mistake with the kick, drilling it low and to the left of Glory keeper Frank Juric.
The goal shook Perth out of their slumber and after a number of attacking forays the Glory landed a penalty of their own when Argentinean recruit Adrian Trinidad was taken down by Adam Griffiths.
Trinidad made no mistake with the spot kick but Perth’s joy almost turned to despair two minutes later when Djulbic came within centimetres of conceding an own goal following a fingertip save from Juric.
The Jets started brightly in the second half and regained their lead three minutes after the break courtesy of a wicked deflection.
Juric looked to have Korea’s Jin-Hyung Song’s shot covered but a ricochet off Glory skipper Jamie Coyne left the keeper with no hope.
But once again it was Glory’s international recruits who came to the rescue, with Ivory Coast striker Eugene Dadi heading home a perfect cross from Brazilian Amaral to get the Glory back on level terms in the 58th minute.
Rukavytsya entered the fray in the 80th minute and just one minute later was released into space courtesy of a beautiful long ball from Adriano Pellegrino.
With only the keeper to beat, Rukavytsya made no mistake with the finish, drilling it low and to Ante Covic’s right.
But with victory within sight, Perth’s defence capitulated under the pressure, with North bustling through a hesitant defence to cooly slot home the winner with the final kick of the match.
Glory coach David Mitchell launched a scathing attack on referee Craig Zetter after the match.
“I don’t know where the four minutes (of stoppage time) came from, and then he stopped time for the last minute,” Mitchell said.
And Mitchell also criticised Zetter for the first-half penalty he awarded to Griffiths.
“It was outside the box, I think everybody saw that was clear,” Mitchell said.
“I think every time we get this referee we just have a bit of bad luck you know, so that’s unfortunate.”
When asked whether Zetter had cost Perth in previous games, Mitchell replied: “Good question.
“I wasn’t in charge then, since I’ve been in charge … anyway, I won’t say it, I won’t get myself into trouble, I can’t afford a fine, we are not allowed to say anything.”
Newcastle coach Gary Van Egmond felt his side should have put the Glory away in the first half.
“On the basis of it we were 3-2 down in injury time and to get out with a draw you should be feeling lucky, but I’m not feeling lucky at all,” Van Egmond said.© AAP 2013
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