Newcastle Jets completed the Club’s 2016 tour of China on a high on Friday, defeating perennial Hong Kong Premier League (HKPL) challengers Kitchee SC 4-3 in Shenzhen.
After wins against Liaoning Whowin FC and Eastern SC earlier in the trip, goals to Andrew Hoole, Morten Nordstrand, Andrew Nabbout and Jason Hoffman helped the Jets seal a clean sweep of victories from their three games played over the past six days.
The Jets were made to work hard for their win against Kitchee at the Bao’an Stadium after Li Ngai Hoi spectacularly opened the scoring just six minutes in from a set piece.
Hoole scored his third goal of the Club’s China tour in the 14th minute – also from a free-kick – to level proceedings, before former Sydney FC Youth player Jared Lum put Kitchee back ahead in the 21st minute – again from a free-kick.
The Jets burst out of the blocks in the second stanza with dynamic Dane Nordstrand finishing smartly past Kitchee custodian Zhenpeng Wang, before Nabbout acrobatically volleyed home from close range four minutes later after a Daniel Mullen header had bounced off the crossbar.
Kitchee, who won their 2016/17 HKPL opener against Southern District 3-1 last Sunday refused to give up and against restored parity to the contest in the 77th minute when Robert Stamp poked home from close range.
But the Jets have demonstrated a clear resilience and never say die attitude during their China tour, and as in their previous matches found a way to win. In time added on at the end of the second half Hoffman rose highest to nod home Wayne Brown’s dangerously placed corner.
“I think the result tonight compounds the work we’ve been doing,” Miller said.
“It’s [resilience] a significant word and one we have been we using quite a lot in terms of the growing confidence in the team.”
“I think the personnel that have come to the Club have taken the football and the capacity to play good football to a different level. But I must admit, the whole dynamic and the respect they’ve [the squad] shown to everybody here in China on this tour has been outstanding.”
Miller added that captain Nigel Boogaard and goalscorer Nordstrand had pushed their physical limits in the game due to their desire to help the squad achieve another win.
“They [Boogaard and Nordstrand] wanted to make sure we left China with three wins, and they actually extended themselves physically and that shows their respect for their teammates,” he said.
The Jets will conclude their China tour with a promotional visit to Ledman Group’s Industrial Park in Huizhou City on Saturday. Alongside Ledman Group the Jets will link with players and staff from Club Owner and Chairman Mr Martin Lee’s other professional club, Shenzhen Renren FC, from China League Two.
Newcastle Jets 4 (Hoole 14’, Nordstrand 52’, Nabbout 56’, Hoffman 90+1)
Kitchee SC 3 (Li Ngai Hoi 6’, Lum 21’, Stamp 77’)
Venue: Bao’an Stadium, Shenzhen
Referee: Yamamoto Yudai (China)
Newcastle Jets: 2. Daniel Mullen, 3. Jason Hoffman, 4. Nigel Boogaard (C) (22. Lachlan Jackson 69′), 6. Steven Ugarkovic, 7. Andrew Hoole, 10. Wayne Brown, 15. Andrew Nabbout (26. Ma Leilei (Trialist) 75′), 16. Nicholas Cowburn, 19. Morten Nordstrand (24. Kristian Brymora 69′), 20. Jack Duncan (Gk), 23. Devante Clut
Substitutes not used: 1. Ben Kennedy (Gk), 5. Ben Kantarovski, 34. Cameron Joice