New Year, New Jets
Newcastle goalkeeper Mark Birighitti was instrumental in the Jet’s January success as he didn’t concede a goal all month
The title says it all. It was an amazing month, and for the first time I can post a positive update. We were undefeated all month, didn’t concede a single goal, and pushed our way up the table into 6th. We have given ourselves a great chance of making the finals and with Emile Heskey back and in business, we should improve even more.
Apologies for the change in graphics, my inbox decided weirdly not to show all the game reports for the month so I had to improvise
Newcastle Jets vs Perth Glory
We welcomed the struggling Perth Glory to Hunter Stadium, and although we appeared to have control of the match we couldn’t capitalise on our chances. It wasn’t a good game for our fans and we’ve missed our chance to pick up 3 points at home against a weaker side.
- James Brown had a commanding performance in midfield and has made the most of limited opportunity.
- Angelo Charisteas had another shocker and is not living up to his expectations, so I may have to change formations or try to use Joel Griffiths as a target man.
Again, sorry for the hodge podge graphics
Newcastle Jets vs Melbourne Victory
Luckily we had a chance to make up for the draw against the highly talented but inconsistent Melbourne Victory. Boasting Archie Thompson, Tom Rogic and cult hero Guilherme Finkler, they were a force to be reckoned with. Until we kicked off. From then we dominated, registering 4 more SoT and having the ball 62% of the time. A great corner from David Carney found the boot of Taylor Regan who opened our accounts on 16 minutes. After half time, Craig Goodwin struck an immaculate free kick which curved into the net after 50 minutes, securing a great 2-0 win for us.
Possession can win you matches, and it’s extremely pleasing to see such a domination in that section lead to a healthy victory. Hopefully we can continue this retention rate, because if they don’t have the ball they can’t score.
I was smashed by injuries this match, with promising young midfielder Jacob Pepper missing 2 weeks and our star left winger Craig Goodwin missing the rest of the season.
Melbourne Heart vs Newcastle Jets
We travelled to Melbourne brimming with confidence after a commanding display over the Victory, but this time against their arch rivals the Heart we played in an entirely different way. Clinical finishing won the day in the end for us, as the Heart dominated open play yet couldn’t make it out, where it counts. In the opening minutes, James Brown gave us the perfect start and the confidence to defend stoutly. Joel Griffiths then came on after 65 minutes and in the dying stages tore the Heart defence to shreds, kicking goals in the 88th and 90th minute. Despite his efforts, Andrew Hoole was given POTM as he set up 2 goals and was a constant threat around the box.
- Joel Griffiths, despite being 34, has showed me that he is still a valuable asset off the bench, and although he will not be retained this season, I will definitely bring him on when I need goals.
- Adam Taggart had a very disappointing match and continued his horror run of form. As of the 1st of February, he has played 14 games, failed to kick a goal and averaging a rating of 6.45
Central Coast Mariners vs Newcastle Jets
After a 3 game winning streak, we had our toughest challenge yet- the goal-hungry Mariners. League leaders for goals scored, they had the most lethal strike partnership in the league, with Mitch Duke and Matt Simon kicking 23 goals in 15 games as a duo. It would stretch our defence to the limits, but after 3 games without conceding Birighitti was spirited. A positive for us though, was the return of DA BEAST, Emile Heskey. However, he struggled along with Duke and Simon for chances early on, and after half time I subbed him off for fitness reasons. Therefore, the perennial disappointment Angelo Charisteas was on. I expected the game to fizzle out into a bore draw, which I was content with. But in the 80th minute, Charisteas chested a ball down, dribbled past a Mariners defender and slotted it into the bottom right corner to get us the win. I was as shocked as anyone, but it seems Charisteas is finally doing something and Heskey is back. February looks promising.
- Charisteas winning MOTM hopefully heralds a change, and I’m hoping I can rely on Heskey and Charisteas swapping in that target man spot.
- This wasn’t a very good team performance, and we relied on a piece of individual brilliance to get us over the line.
So finally, after 3 months of pain, I have advanced up the table into 6th! We showed the comp that we are capable of winning big, and now it’s time to do so further and cement that finals spot.
He may not have set the world alight in terms of average rating, and he sure didn’t get a goal or an assist. But I don’t think anyone deserves POTM this month more than our young goalie Mark Birighitti. It’s been 360 minutes since he last conceded, and his saves have been the difference between 1 and 3 points. What a warrior, great job Mark.
We begin the month at home against the Western Sydney Wanderers, and then host the surprise packets Wellington Phoenix on the 9th. We then travel up to Suncorp to play the Roar, before hosting slightly less invincible Sydney FC in the last game of the month. It is a much more challenging month but I’m hoping the team’s confidence can help us. Join us then!