Newcastle the toast of Coffs as City fall
by Chris Dunkerley
Hyundai A-League – Season 12 – 2016/2017 – Round 17
7:50pm, Friday 27 January, 2017 – Coffs Harbour International Stadium
Newcastle United Jets FC 2 (Andrew (Nabbout 14’, 52’)
Melbourne City FC 1 (Fornaroli 69’ (pen))
Newcastle United Jets returned to the top six with an impressive 2-1 victory against Melbourne City in Coffs Harbour on Friday night.
A brace from the energetic Andrew Nabbout, one in each half, sent Melbourne back south with their momentum halted.
City dominated possession in the opening ten minutes. That was however to no avail as the revamped Jets defensive wall and its pace out wide proved a handful.
It was the Jets Chinese midfielder Ma Leilei who provided a telling pass through the middle to Andrew Nabbout who streaked away from the static defence, stepped around City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis with ease, and stroked it in.
Bruno Fornaroli battled, and Bruce Kamau caused plenty of problems down the right flank, but strikes on City’s goal were wayward.
Right on half-time Melbourne midfielder Luke Brattan hit a shot from 35m, but Jets custodian Jack Duncan managed to hold it.
The wide speed of Jets’s Nabbout and Hoole (who was giving pacy Josh Rose a hard time) rattled the Melbourne structure and the Jets went close as Morten Nordstrand headed an Andrew Hoole free kick from the left, over the crossbar.
The home side extended their lead in the 52nd minute when Andrew Nabbout, picking up the ball from Hoole in midfield with space to move forward and strike with power, beating Bouzanis for pace.
In the 69th minute City did get goal back when Nabbout was judged to have caught Ivan Franjic in the area. It looked dubious and the commentators in front of me were shaking their heads over the replay.
Bruno Fornaroli stepped up to the spot, and placed it into the left corner. Duncan got a hand to it but not enough to prevent the goal.
The visitors continued to press, but the Jets should have doubled their advantage in the 77th minute when Nabbout played in Steven Ugarkovic down the left edge. Ugarkovic turned into the middle and played in an unmarked Ma Leilei on the right. Instead of forcing a strong he unsuccessfully attempted to chip Bouzanis and City were able to clear.
Hoole had a moment to seal the match in the 85th minute when he burst down the left side only to shoot high.
Newcastle showed great organisation, solid defence (which gave Tim Cahill not a sniff), and intent at pace going forward.
Melbourne City looked jaded (perhaps from arriving on the day from Sydney due to flight problems) and without a lot of creativity.
Newcastle United Jets FC: 20. Jack DUNCAN (Gk), 2. Daniel MULLEN, 3. Jason HOFFMAN, 4. Nigel BOOGAARD, 6. Steven UGARKOVIC, 7. Andrew HOOLE, 8. Mateo POLJAK, 15. Andrew NABBOUT, 18. MA Leilei (12. Harrison SAWYER 78’), 19. Morten NORDSTRAND (28. John KOUTROUMBIS 89), 22. Lachlan JACKSON
Substitutes not used: 16. Nicholas COWBURN, 23. Devante CLUT, 50. Tomislav ARCABA (rgk)
Coach: Mark Jones
Cards: Yellow – Ugarkovic, Sawyer
Melbourne City FC: 20. Dean BOUZANIS (rgk), 2. Manny MUSCAT, 3. Josh ROSE, 5.Ivan FRANJIC, 6.Osama MALIK, 8.Neil KILKENNY, 9.Nicolas COLAZO, 10.Anthony CACERES, 11.Bruce KAMAU, 12.Nick FITZGERALD, 17.Tim CAHILL, 18.Paulo RETRE, 21.Ruon TONGYIK, 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 23.Bruno FORNAROLI (c), 26.Luke BRATTAN, 27.Fernando BRANDAN
Subs: tba 1. Thomas SORENSEN (rgk)
Coach: Michael Valkanis
Cards: Yellow – Malik
Points and ratings
Referee: Kurt Ams 5/10
Assistant Referee 1: David Walsh, Assistant Referee 2: Ashley Beecham; Fourth Official: Shaun Evans
3. Andrew Nabbout (NUJ)
2. Daniel Mullen (NUJ)
1. Andrew Hoole (NUJ)