Sky Blues climb high after shooting down the Jets

Sydney FC is back in the battle for top spot on the Hyundai A-League table after re-joining Gold Coast United in first place on the ladder, following its gritty 2-1 win over the Newcastle Jets on Sunday at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Sydney FC is back in the battle for top spot on the Hyundai A-League table after re-joining Gold Coast United in first place on the ladder, following its gritty 2-1 win over the Newcastle Jets on Sunday at the Sydney Football Stadium.

Goals from Mark Bridge and Steve Corica sealed the three points for the Sky Blues and snapped a two game losing streak, following consecutive defeats at the hands of Gold Coast and the North Queensland Fury.

In a heated match that saw each side awarded a penalty, plus a late red card to Jets- midfielder Tarek Elrich, Sydney had to do it the hard way with a swag of players out due to injuries and Young Socceroos- duty.

“Today all players showed (the) right, strong, tough character,” assessed Sydney coach Vitezslav Lavicka after the game.

The first twenty minutes saw a tight and physical tussle as both sides tried to gain the upper hand in midfield. Sydney had an early chance in the 7th minute with a dangerous free kick whipped in by Sung-Hwan Byun and just punched away by Newcastle keeper Ben Kennedy.

At the other end of the field, Newcastle striker Sasho Petrovski gave Sydney a scare in the 12th minute when his awkwardly skidding shot was fumbled outside the left post by Sydney custodian, Clint Bolton.

The game came alive in the 22nd minute, when Stuart Musialik was ruled to have brought down Fabio Vignaroli in the box, leading referee Ben Williams to point to the spot, and setting the stage for Clint Bolton to come to the fore. Like he did against the Central Coast in the 3rd round, Bolton stepped up to save Sydney – Jets captain Matthew Thompson opted to go low with his penalty attempt, but Bolton guessed the right way and dived smartly to his left to keep the contest on level terms.

“Clint Bolton made a great save for the penalty,” Corica said, “That was like last weekend when Johnny (Aloisi) missed his but this week it was the other way around. That might-ve been the turning point for us.”

It was indeed a turning point, and the Sky Blues quickly punished the Jets- miss, taking the lead instead in the 26th minute thanks to a brilliant solo effort from Bridge. The striker dribbled around Newcastle defenders Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Vignaroli, creating just enough space to launch a classy off-balance shot that gave Kennedy no chance and shook the net in the top left corner.

“I got myself in space and Brosque took all the defenders with him,” said Bridge after the match. “I had a shot and it was lucky enough to go in.”

Newcastle was far from out of the game, however, and hit back in the 37th minute with a counter attack started by Patafta down the right wing. He slid the ball through Byun-s legs on the edge of the Sydney box to have a clear shot at goal from a difficult angle. Bolton-s right handed save trickled across the face of goal to a waiting Thompson, who redeemed himself for the missed penalty by tapping in the equaliser.

One-all at half time, but ten minutes after the restart, Brosque ran dangerously into the box and earned his team a penalty – brought down by the keeper for the third time this season. The 25-year old rounded Kennedy and was about to prod the ball into the unguarded net before he was tripped clumsily by the keeper.

Captain Corica stepped up to the spot and made no mistake with the finish, taking the scoreline to 2-1 in favour of the hosts and setting the scene for an exciting finish.

In the 71st minute, Newcastle had its best chance to equalise, but with Bolton stranded, a curling strike from Korean midfielder, Song slammed dangerously into the right upright.

The Jets continued to press forward but Sydney-s backline frustrated them late in the game. The visitors ended the match with ten men after Elrich was shown a straight red for a high boot on Byun.

“(With) two losses, (it) showed a lot of character from the boys,” said Corica. “After two losses you might go into your shell but I think today we showed that we-re up for it even with a lot of players out we showed good fighting spirit.”

Sydney will be out to consolidate its spot on the table when it travels to Brisbane next Sunday to face the fourth-placed Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.

Match Detail

Sydney FC 2 (Mark BRIDGE 26-, Steve CORICA 55-P)
Newcastle Jets 1 (Matthew THOMPSON 37-)

Sydney FC: 1. Clint BOLTON (gk), 2. Sebastian RYALL, 4. Simon COLOSIMO, 7. Brendan GAN, 8. Stuart MUSIALIK, 10. Steve CORICA (c), 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 18. Adam CASEY (16. Christopher PAYNE 82-), 19. Mark BRIDGE (13. Antony GOLEC 90-+2), 22. Sung-Hwan BYUN.

Substitutes not used: 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 24. Zach CAIRNCROSS.

Yellow Cards: Sung-Hwan Byun 90-+1.
Red Cards: nil.
Goals: Mark BRIDGE 26-, Steve CORICA 55-P.

Newcastle Jets: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 3. Adam D-APUZZO (2. Angelo COSTANZO 78-), 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 7. Jin-Hyung SONG, 8. Matthew THOMPSON (c), 9. Sasho PETROVSKI (19. Jason NAIDOVSKI 70-), 11. Tarek ELRICH, 17. Fabio VIGNAROLI, 22. Kaz PATAFTA (26. Ali ABBAS 68-).

Substitutes not used: 20. Neil YOUNG (gk).

Yellow Cards: Sasho PETROVSKI 38-, Ben KENNEDY 55-, Angelo COSTANZO 90-.
Red Cards: Tarek ELRICH 90-.
Goals: Matthew THOMPSON 37-.

Referee: Ben Williams.
Crowd: 10,357 at the Sydney Football Stadium.