Ryan Griffiths scored the only goal of the contest as Newcastle posted a crucial victory over Brisbane Roar
|By MARK HUGHES
The Newcastle Jets have moved back into the top six of the A-League ladder with a hard-fought 1-0 win over the Brisbane Roar at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.
The Jets overcame a spirited start from the Roar to create a number of chances and eventually grabbed the winner when Ryan Griffiths showed great composure to slot his sixth goal of the season just after the half-time break.
The Roar finished the game strongly but couldn't find the back of the net with striker Besart Berisha missing two golden opportunities late in the match as the Jets held on for a crucial victory.
The win lifts Newcastle into fifth spot while the Roar slide down to eighth with the rest of the round to play.
The game started in warm but comfortably conditions and it was the Roar who pressured the Jets defence into errors early including a yellow card to defender Taylor Regan for a mistimed slide tackle on Thomas Brioch just 15 seconds into the match.
The Roar were all over the Jets in the first 10 minutes but were unable to fashion any clear shots on goal and gradually the home side began to get into the rhythm of the match and they then started to force some errors from the Roar defence with a high pressing game.
Craig Goodwin forced a great save from Roar goalkeeper Michael Theo in the 20th minute when pressure from Griffiths caused an errant pass from Shane Steffanutto. Goodwin pounced on the ball and fired toward the near post only to see Theo get a fingertip save.
The home side had another great chance a few moments later when James Brown showed skill and pace to get beyond Steffanutto down the right wing before cutting the ball back to an unmarked Ryan Griffiths on the edge of the area, who had a mountain of time to line up his shot but sent it narrowly wide of the near post.
The Jets picked up where they left off after the break and were on the scoreboard just two minutes after the restart when Zadkovich pounced a failed clearance from the Roar and slide the ball to Brown who played an audacious back heel to put Griffiths through on goal.
The Jets striker showed great poise to take the ball toward Theo before deftly chipping the Brisbane custodian.
The Jets had the ball in the back of the net just a few moments later when the home side engineered a good passing move through the centre of the park for James Virgili to run into the box and slide his shot past Theo, but the linesman had his flag up for offside.
The Jets continued to press and Goodwin went close near the hour mark when he weaved his way into the penalty area and to the edge of the box where he sent his shot high and wide of the far post.
Goodwin again used his pace to get in behind the Roar defence and this time squared the ball to Brown who ballooned his shot over the bar.
Brisbane went close to equalising in the 75th minute when Broich's free-kick found its way through a crowded penalty area and to the back post where defender James Donachie met the ball at pace only to push his first-time shot just wide of the post.
Berisha should have scored 10 minutes from full-time when Ben Halloran got into space on the right wing and squared a pin-point cross right at the feet of the Albanian but he stumbled over the ball with the goal begging.
Berisha missed his final chance deep in stoppage time when Broich sliced a ball into the box, Mitch Nichols turned the ball across the face of goal for Berisha but he scuffed his shot and the Jets defence was able to clear the danger and hang on for a much-needed victory.