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2018-11-14

Spirited Jets searching for winning

Author :ledman Reading :436
Coach Ernie Merrick is confident that the Newcastle Jets are headed in the right direction.
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But the most experienced coach in the A-League is well aware that results are what counts, and the Jets need to start winning.
Newcastle made a late charge to snatch a 1-all draw with leaders Sydney FC at home on Saturday night.
They played with spirit and endeavour but again lacked a cutting edge.
A late header from replacement Nick Cowburn turned around what had been largely a frustrating night. 
"The stats show we entered the front third more than they did... we had 13 shots to their five. Having said that, stats lie often," Merrick said. "I think a draw was a fair result [although] I was convinced we were going to get another goal out of it and steal the game at the end."
The point moved the Jets off  the bottom of the ladder, but after four rounds last season's runner-up are still chasing their first win.
"We have been performing well for the last three games, and have nothing to show for it," Merrick said. 
"The bottom line is winning games. We have to win games. We are pressing well and winning the ball well in the front half. We are creating chances, getting lots of shots whether they be accurate or not. It is good, quality football. But the bottom line is that performance is a lot of nonsense if you are not winning games. But we have plenty of time to do that. The team who won it last year, didn't win until round seven, finished fourth and won the grand final."
Sydney bossed much of the contest on Saturday night after taking an early lead through Alex Brosque, whose glancing header squeezed under the hands of Jets keeper Glen Moss. The Kiwi international made amends with two brilliant saves in the second half, the later in injury time.
Sydney coach Steve Corica lamented "two points lost".
"It was a frustrating finish, to concede from a set piece in a game we had dominated," he said.
Ronny Vargas and Dimi Petratos created the Jets' best moments but were well contained by a desperate Sydney defence.
Vargas' effort straight at Redmayne in the fifth minute was the home side's lone shot on target in an underwhelming opening 45 minutes. They caused Sydney more problems in the second half, but lacked pace and penetration - key components to a swashbuckling game last season which yielded 57 goals.
Asked why the Jets, who will be without suspended striker Roy O'Donovan until round nine, have been subdued, Merrick said: "A few new faces is one thing. Plus Roy makes the right runs at the right time. Jason [Hoffman] used to be a fullback and is still getting used to it and does a good job. The other thing is that we are not under the radar any more. Teams know what we can do and who the danger men are. No doubt, they try shut down Ronny and Dimi. "
Corica confirmed that Sydney had focused heavily on limiting the impact of the Jets' guns.
"That is key to their game," The Sydney coach said. "We looked at it and it was part of our game plan to stop then. For most part, we defended really well."
Saturday night's hero, Cowburn had a simple answer to the Jets' scoring woes: "The way we played that last 20 minutes, that is what we have to get back to. That is what we have to get back to. ”


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