February- Can’t Stop Us Now
The Jets stamped themselves as the iron clad defensive team of the competition.
We remained undefeated throughout the month and we have now gone 8 games without losing. We conceded just 2 goals, and furthered our reputation as the best defensive team in the competition. In an incredible turnaround, in 2 months we’ve risen from 8th to 3rd and we don’t look like stopping. Here’s a closer look at the month that was.
Newcastle Jets vs Western Sydney Wanderers
The Wanderers were in what was our position a couple of months ago, drawing lots of matches and not doing quite enough to win. We had a win in mind for ourselves and we started in the most bizarre of fashions as a long kick from keeper Mark Birighitti bounced over the head of Michael Boxall and da beast Emile Heskey had an easy chance in front of goal, slotting it home to make it 1-0. David Carney, our corner king, swung one beautifully for youngster Connor Chapman to tap it in on 17 minutes. Chapman however fouled Hersi clumsily in the box and the Dutchman breathed some hope into the Wanderers as he slotted the penalty. Luckily, we held on and Birighitti was awarded man of the match for both his assist and his saves.
- If Birighitti can combine great kicking with amazing goalkeeping every week, I have a young, durable, talented goalie. Every manager’s dream.
- Clumsy challenges can lose you matches, and Chapman needs to learn that to progress to his full potential.
Newcastle Jets vs Wellington Phoenix
This would be our first big test in weeks, against an in-form Phoenix who have surprised this season to be in 2nd. Their main threats were Stein Huseygems, their star striker, and his partner-in-crime, Costa Rican attacking midfielder Carlos Hernandez. The 2 had devastated the competitions for weeks, and it was no surprise, after an idle first half, Huseygems scored on 54 minutes. I feared our unbeaten streak was going to end, but then an all-too familiar scene occurred. David Carney took the corner, Taylor Regan was waiting, and he headed it in for the 3rd Carney-Regan corner goal this season. We clung on for the rest of the match and I was content with matching it with one of the best in the league so far.
- Another great defensive effort despite the early goal, Birighitti is hands down the best keeper in the comp at the moment
- I need some more open play goals, as the last 3 have been corners and incredulous long balls.
Brisbane Roar vs Newcastle Jets
Another smash and grab match, similar to the Wanderers one. Brisbane were just below us in the table, and it was going to be a tight clash at their home. Mark Birighitti pulled off another wondrous long bomb that resulted this time in a Ruben Zadkovich goal, and we were defensively tight for the rest of the game. It’s always nervy to have to defend for almost 90 minutes, buts a win is a win and we continue our run.
- Birighitti is just insanely good at the moment, feeling so secure right now
- Emile Heskey struggled, and I’m hoping he can recapture his early form in the coming weeks.
Newcastle Jets vs Sydney FC
We met what could become the rivals of our team in this save, the Sky Blues. After our crushing 3-0 win over them in Sydney, they were hell-bent on revenge. It was another defensive game, with most of the attacking coming from Sydney FC. However, in the 39th minute, a Josh Brillante cross found what seemed to have been Emile Heskey’s head but was actually Rhyan Grant’s and we went up. The game intensified from there, with some great attacks by the Sydney outfit but unfortunately they couldn’t get through and we managed to extend our unbeaten run to 8 games.
A good defensive effort against the number 1 team in the country.
Alex Henshall didn’t have a good game and was injured, I’m hoping he can do better next time.
We sit in 4th position, with a game in hand over 3rd, and we are the in-form team of the competition. We have conceded just 14 goals in 21 games, a league record, we seem as good as ever. Onto March!
For the second month in a row, my goalie Mark Birighitti wins Player of the Month. However, this month he won it with a combination of saves and 2 of the most incredulous assists I have seen. He now has 10 clean sheets from 19 games and is hands down the number 1 keeper in the comp at the moment.
Next we play Wanderers again, then 3 more matches before we play our last 3 and then finals! Hopefully we can stay in this great position and maybe even battle for the title. Join me then!