A last-gasp goal from substitute Franco Parisi saw the Newcastle Jets snatch a 1-0 home victory over the Central Coast Mariners in their round nine A-League match on Sunday.
Parisi sent the Newcastle crowd into wild celebration's when he tapped home from close range in the 88th minute. Parisi had been presented with an open goal after following up an Ante Milicic shot which goal keeper Danny Vukovic had got a hand to. A smiling Franco Parisi declared "I looked over my shoulder and it doesn't get any easier".
The match seemed to be heading for a 0-0 draw, after both teams had scored 4 goals in last weeks matches. Both defenses looked rock solid.
The first 10 mins seemed scrappy as both teams committed a number of fouls, both teams tackled hard and found it difficult to adjust to the pitch which looked in terrible condition ’Äì it looked bumpy and the grass seemed to be ’Äòdieing' early in preparation for ground maintenance which will see the Jets not returning to the EAS until the 2nd December.
In the 13min Milicic had the first attempt on goal from a 30 meter free kick ’Äì it went over the cross bar. Dean Heffernan then caused the Jets defence some problems with a long run that saw Liam Reddy fumble the ball out for a corner, and then take two attempts to catch the resulting corner.
The 21 min saw a Ned Kelic foul on Andre Gumprecht just outside the area and the resulting free kick saw Tom Pondeljak shot straight at Reddy.
Milicic hit the cross bar in the 24 min with an overhead shot with his back to goal, ten mins later he fired a low hard shot at the near post just wide from a pass from Labinot Haliti.
The first half finished with Noel Spencer hitting a low hard shot just wide from outside the area, a curling Nick Carle free kick straight at Vukovic and a Gumprecht volley from a tight angle that went over the cross bar as both teams tried to ascertain their authority on the game.
19 fouls were committed in the first half with the Mariners committing 10 of these.
The 51 min saw Matt Thompson through on goal from a wall pass by Carle but he was fouled by Matthew Osman who received a yellow card. From the resulting Zelic free kick found Allan Picken but Michael Beauchamp cleared for a corner which was taken by Thompson who found Vukovic lapping at fin air and a Milicic header just went over the cross bar.
A goal was looking unlikely, as both teams tried to dominate the midfield and both sets of supporters tried to encourage their teams. There were approximately two hundred Mariners supporters who made the short trip north.
In the 59th min a fierce Heffernan shot was well saved by Reddy, three mins later Heffernan released Gumprecht who hit a low hard cross across the face of the goal but no one was following up.
The match was not without controversy, with Jets supporters furious when referee Matthew Breeze failed to give Newcastle a penalty in the 78th minute. Central Coast substitute Adam Kwasnik appeared to pull back Newcastle striker Ante Milicic in the box, but Breeze thought otherwise.
In the last 10 mins Carle got heavily involved, he received a warm round of applause for skillfully rounding two defenders, two mins later he played a one-two with Milicic at the edge of the area ending with a Milicic shot saved by Vukovic.
The 88th min saw the Jets finally enlivened their home crowd when Milicic found himself in the clear and sent a shot past an approaching Vukovic who got a hand on it, and Parisi, who had come on in the 62nd minute, found himself with the ball at his feet in front of an open net, 1-0.
The late goal sparked the game into life, with the Central Coast pushing forward leaving spaces that saw with Carle twice hitting shots just wide of the right post and Heffernan going close at the other end. The full time whistle saw a chorus of cheers from the home fans.
What the coaches had to say:
On the penalty "clear penalty" "Pitch made it difficult" "Our organization at the back was very good" "We have come out on top of the battle" "Started Wheelhouse to get match practise".
"We looked quite comfortable ’Äì disappointed to lose in the final mins" "Hard game ’Äì good local derby"