Jets Fall Off The Pace In March
The Mariners ended the Jet's dream run in 2014
As the title suggests, the A-League premiership race was just too quick and we unfortunately lost our chance to win the premier's plate. However, the big prize is still on as our 8 points in March secured a spot in the finals and a shot at winning the ultimate Australian domestic title, to be the A-League champions. Here's a look at the month in greater detail. As I lost some vital images, I will use a different layout to previous months. This is just a one-off.
Western Sydney Wanderers vs Newcastle Jets
Parramatta Stadium, Sydney
Starting XI- Birighitti, Gallaway, Regan, Chapman, Zadkovich, Kantarovski, Brown, Brillante, Henshall, Hoole, Heskey
NUJ 1-0 WSW
James Brown 5'
We travelled to Sydney looking to continue our unbeaten streak, and a very quick goal from James Brown secured our 9th game without losing. The instant impact ultimately made the difference, and although defending a lead for 85 minutes is a little unnerving, a win is a win.
Newcastle Jets vs Melbourne Heart
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Starting XI- Birighitti, Gallaway, Regan, Chapman, Brillante, Jaliens, Brown, Pepper, Henshall, Hoole, Heskey
NUJ 0-0 MHT
A bit more of a challenge against a talented Heart side, we had a typically defensive effort but this time the goal wasn't there and we played out a bore draw. Pepper won PoM with a rating of just 6.9 as it wasn't a game for anybody to thrive. However, on a bright note, that is now 10 games unbeaten.
Central Coast Mariners vs Newcastle Jets
Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford
Starting XI- Birighitt, Gallaway, Regan, Chapman, Zadkovich, Brillante, Brown, Pepper, Henshall, Hoole, Heskey
NUJ 0-2 CCM
A loss that really brought me to my senses. The great run was over, and it was now time to have a look at the team and address some issues. One issue was attack; defence had worked for us for a long time but against the Mariners it wasn't enough. We played valiantly for an hour but the Mitchell Duke goal was inevitable and right winger turned right back Mile Sterjovski doubled the advantage. Time to regroup and hopefully rebound.
Newcastle Jets vs Wellington Phoenix
Hunter Stadium, Newcastle
Starting XI- Birighitti, Carney, Regan, Chapman, Zadkovich, Brillante, Brown, Pepper, Henshall, Hoole, Heskey
NUJ 2-1 WPH
Andrew Hoole 2'
Stein Huseygems 7'
Emile Heskey 66'
This was not the best opportunity to rebound after the last game's loss; up against the league leaders Wellington Phoenix. The NZ-based team had surprised all season and the deadly duo of Huseygems and Hernandez looked quite scary. However, we had a very quick answer to them as Andrew Hoole slammed home a very early goal to give us the advantage. A sloppy tackle in the box just 5 minutes later meant that the Phoenix equalised, but luckily Hoole wasn't done and his 66th minute cross found da beast's head. Heskey's winner gave us 3 vital points in our chase for the top 2.
Perth Glory vs Newcastle Jets
Perth Oval, Perth
Starting XI- Birighitti, Carney, Regan, Chapman, Brillante, Kantarovski, Brown, Zadkovich, Henshall, Hoole, Heskey
NUJ 1-1 PER
Emile Heskey 47'
Darvyrdas Sernas 90+2'
A must win in our quest to secure a top 2 spot, we looked to be on track as we defended well (as per usual) and just after half time Emile Heskey struck. But, in true FM fashion, in the dying seconds, Perth's Sernas kicked an unlikely equaliser and ended our month on a low note. The one that got away.
3rd place is currently very achievable, and if we win both games and hope Sydney FC stuff up, we may just sneak into 2nd and get the 1st week of finals off. Nevertheless, we are in the finals this season which is a MASSIVE turnaround from earlier in the season.
This month we had very little standout players, but the player who had his moments and also had the highest average rating for the month was central midfielder James Brown. At the beginning of the year, he had to consign himself to a cameo role off the bench. But ever since our rise up the table, he has become our number 1 central midfielder as Josh Brillante and Ruben Zadkovich have moved to different positions.
We have just 2 games remaining for the regular season. Despite our premiership aspirations over, we still need to fight and try and climb as high as possible by the season's end. Join me next time for the April review!