The Newcastle Jets have secured a thrilling 2-1 win over Adelaide at Newcastle International Sports Centre in Newcastle. The winner came from a 50 metre Nick Carle run in the 89th minute of play which began from outside his own penalty area and finished with his left foot swerving shot that found the top left corner of the Adelaide net.
Just one minute earlier, Adelaide appeared certain to win the game, Referee Matthew Breeze awarding a penalty kick after a Qu Shengqing goal-bound header was saved by defender Jade North with his hand - after which he was red carded and sent off. Carl Veart then stepped up for his second penalty of the game but blasted the kick over the cross bar to the approval of the largest home crowd of the season for the Jets.
The Jets lined up with a 4-2-3-1 formation, Steve Eagleton going to the bench and Paul Okon coming into the starting eleven. Adelaide lined up with a 4-4-1-1 formation and had Qu Shengqing and Travis Dodd starting, with Nathan Burns on U20 National Duty and Jason Spagnuolo on the bench.
Socceroo superstar Harry Kewell was in the stands to witness his first live A-League match, sitting beside local rugby league legend Andrew Johns and Jets owner Con Constantine.
The Jets took the game to their rivals in the opening 30 minutes, creating chance after chance ... the game commenced with Milton Rodriguez finding space and shooting from an acute angle but easily saved by Robert Bajic. Adelaide United responded with a Qu attempted chip from 40 metres but the ball travelled along the ground straight at Ben Kennedy.
The 5th minute saw Adelaide avoid going behind when Michael Valkanis cleared off his line after a back-pass from Adam Van Dommele (who was pressured by Joel Griffiths) from a pass by Paul Okon heads toward goal past Bajic. Three minutes later Vaughan Coveny was through on goal but he passed to Carle who shot over the crossbar.
The Jets then created 3 big chances in a 5 minute period - Griffiths was through on goal from a Stuart Musialik pass but his fierce shot was saved by Bajic, Matt Thomson cut inside a defender to unleash a shot which Bajic saved and a Carle pass put Coveny through on goal from a chip but in his one-on-one Coveny can't beat Bajic.
The 21st minute saw Paul Kohler put Griffiths through and from the byline he crossed across the face of the goal for Rodriguez who couldn't get a touch on the ball to force it over the line. A minute later Musialik found Rodriguez who turned his defender and in front of goal managed to blast it over the cross bar. A minute later and Coveny was body checked by Adam Van Dommele in the penalty area and fell to the ground - but is given a yellow card for his efforts.
A Jets goal finally arrived in the 26th minute, Carle winning a ball in midfield and passed to Musialik who threads a pass for Coveny who is in on goal, but though at an angle he is still able to hit a sweet low shot into the far corner of the goal, 1-0 Jets.
After the goal the Jets ease off the pressure and Adelaide come more into the game, but it comes as a great suprise when in the 36th minute Qu has two Jets defenders in front of him, he makes space for a shot then Paul Okon has a brain explosion and pulls down Qu in the penalty area - giving referee Matthew Breeze no option other than to give Adelaide a penalty, and Okon a yellow card.
Carl Veart converted the kick but it had to be retaken due to encroachment in the penalty area by Qu. Veart made no mistake with the retake - its 1-1.
The goal completely flattens the Jets and inspires Adelaide who then had Greg Owens fire over the cross bar from a Travis Dodd pass and the 44th minute saw their first corner of the game.
The second half commenced with Carle sending Griffiths to the byline but his crss is too high for Rodriguez.
Bobby Petta creates a opportunity by dispossing Andrew Durante, he then nutmegs Durranten and reached the six yard box but Jade North clears.
The pace of the game dropped, but the Jets broke quickly in the 52th minute, with Coveny crossing for North who shot just wide of the upright with Griffiths just failing to get a telling touch on the ball. Ten minutes later a long Griffiths run ended in a deflected shot from Carle which Bajic saved.
Adelaide were now getting an even share of the ball and Owens saw his effort over the cross bar from outside the penalty area. Then Jets goalkeeper Ben Kennedy makes a crucial play in the 65th minute, saving with his legs from a Qu effort who has a one-on-one with the goal keeper. A minute later and Qu had his close range shot saved by a Okon tackle. The 72nd minute saw Petta beat Matt Thomson but Thomson handles the ball - however the referee and his assistant wave play on.
With seven minutes remaining Qu, who had been a danger all evening, had a shot blocked by North, and from Qu's resultant corner Valkanis's header was tipped over the cross bar by Kennedy.
The 87th minute will be talked about for some time - a goal mouth scrabble saw the ball bounce perfectly for Qu who headed it towards goal. The ball was clearly heading over North's head but under the cross bar, he extended his arm and touches the ball on to the cross bar and it bounces back into play.
Referee Matthew Breeze correctly rules a penalty and a red card for North. Hundreds of fans in the main Western Grandstand head towards the exits - it appears certain Adelaide have come away with a unlikely win.
Veart then blasted the penalty kick over the crossbar, the home fans went crazy and the fans in the stairway then went back to their seats.
They then watched a 50 metre Carle dribble, which began from outside his own penalty area and finishing with a left foot swerving shot from the edge of the Adelaide penalty area, finding the top left corner of the Adelaide net. The goal sent the home fans into wild celebrations, for a 2-1 Jets win.
Gary Van Egmond summed up the closing moments as 'its a matter of inches', 'North made a fantastic decision'. A smiling Jade North himself said 'It got us the 3 points'. Nick Carle's post match comments included .. 'its been 12 months since my last A-League goal'. 'I would like to thank the fans, they have been excellent'.
John Kosmina comments included ... 'we had our chances, we were sluggish in the first half and you can't back off for 40 meters' - referring to his defenders in the Nick Carle winner.
The Jets won the shot count 26-17 and the balls into the penalty area 34-22.