Sydney FC have a chance to close the gap on the top of A-League leaderboard with a tough road trip to Wellington and Melbourne Victory over the next seven days.
The next seven days shape as key to Sydney FC’s hopes of a third successive A-League premier’s plate after closing the gap on the Perth Glory.
The Sky Blues were far from clinical in their 1-0 win over Newcastle at Jubilee Stadium on Saturday, however it was an effort that spoke volumes about their depth and character.
With Milos Ninkovic (illness) and Paulo Retre (groin) absent and Josh Brillante suspended, Sydney FC lost Jacob Tratt to a groin problem just seven minutes in.
Tratt ‘s injury forced Ben Warland to play most of the match in what was his first game in four months while Anthony Caceres played his first full match since his transfer to the club earlier in the month.
After keeping a clean sheet against the Jets, they narrowed the gap on the Glory to just four points – after the ladder leaders were held to a 0-0 draw by Melbourne City on Saturday night.
The Sky Blues are now facing a tough week on the road which will see them play in Wellington on Wednesday before ‘The Big Blue’ with Melbourne Victory on Saturday.
The side will fly directly from New Zealand to Victoria and coach Steve Corica confirmed Ninkovic and Retre would be available for the trip.
“We want to try and rotate the boys especially in this period, give a few of them a rest when we can,” Corica said.
“We’ll have Niko back for that game in Wellington and Josh will be back and Paulo Retre will be back, I think, as well. We’ll be able to freshen up a few boys in that game.”
By all rights Sydney should have won by two or three more goals after blowing a host of chances when the Jets were reduced to 10 men due to Jason Hoffman’s red card for striking out at Brandon O’Neill.
Even superboot Adam Le Fondre missed what appeared to be a shoo-in.
Their only goal came when Jets skipper Nigel Boogaard found the back of his own net late in the first half.
However, Corica denied they had trouble converting opportunities and said they were still in the running to claim top spot.
“When Melbourne (Victory) won the other day it puts pressure on us, the boys responded today, it was a great three points,” Corica said.
“We still have to play Perth one more time, we have to play Melbourne Victory another two games, that’s where you can pick up the points.”
ly wicket with just seven wickets falling in the match.
South Africa ODI debutant Duanne Olivier finished with the best figures with 2-73.