Tarek Elrich scored the only goal six minutes before half-time as Newcastle all but ended Adelaide's season with a 1-0 victory at Hunter StadiumThe Newcastle Jets have all but ended Adelaide United's season with a hard-fought 1-0 win in their Hyundai A-League clash at Hunter Stadium on Friday.
Tarek Elrich scored the winning goal six minutes before half-time with a nice turn and shot after being picked out in the box via a lovely pass from English import Francis Jeffers, who had an industrious match up front for the home side.
Adelaide were kept fairly quiet for most of the match but showed plenty of desperation in the final 20 minutes as they threw caution to the wind to claim an equaliser and although they threatened a couple of times the Jets were able to hold on for a crucial win.
The three points lifts the Jets into fifth place on 31 points with the rest of the round remaining while Adelaide remain on 23 points and will need a near miracle to make it to the six with just four games to go.
The Jets seemed to start the game with more intent than the visitors and went close to opening the scoring in the just the third minute when Jeremy Brockie sent at cross from the left wing to the near post where Ryan Griffiths swung his first-time shot narrowly wide of the target.
The match started to settle down but Adelaide received a body blow in the 19th minute when Francisco Usucar was forced off with a hamstring injury. John Kosmina was forced to bring on 16-year-old Jacob Melling.
The Jets eventually profited from their pressure when Jeffers showed great vision to pick out an unmarked Erlich in the box with a lovely pass from 30m out. Elrich took the ball on the turn and slotted a right-foot shot past Eugene Galekovic into the far corner to give Newcastle a 1-0 lead at half-time.
Jets coach Gary van Egmond decided to rest Ben Kantarovski in the 52nd minute after the youngster had put in a strong performance just hours after returning from the Olyroos Olympic qualifying campaign.
A Ryan Griffiths break down the right wing created the first chance of the second half on the hour mark. The Jets skipper sent a great ball into the box but it beat everyone including a fast-approaching Elrich at the back post.
Brockie almost secured the points for Newcastle when he fired a shot from 25m out but his left-footer whizzed past the far post.
Kosmina rolled the dice in the 70th minute bringing on Bruce Djite and Zenon Caravella for Dario Vidosic and Jacob Melling but the pair could do little to break down a dogged Newcastle defence.
Adelaide's best chance came in the 80th minute when Jets goalkeeper Ben Kennedy spilt a United corner in a crowded penalty box and Reds defender Osama Malik pounced only to poke his shot wide from an acute angle.
Adelaide almost snatched a late equaliser in injury through a counter attack when Iain Ramsey laid the ball back for Sergio Van Dijk who blasted a vicious shot from 30 meters out only for Kennedy to push it around the far post.
From the ensuing corner Djite sent his header narrowly over the crossbar and the Jets held on for an important victory.