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Oct 30, 2011   |  1:23AM AET

Nine-man Jets hold off GCU

Nine-man Jets hold off GCU

A nine-man Newcastle outfit have held off a late surge from Gold Coast United to register their first win of the new National Youth League season with a 3-2 result at Owen Park on Saturday.

A nine-man Newcastle outfit have held off a late surge from Gold Coast United to register their first win of the new National Youth League season with a 3-2 result at Owen Park on Saturday.

Reigning champions United were far from their best in their first home match, conceding two first-half goals to the Jets and another, mere seconds after the interval, to hand Mike Mulvey’s men consecutive defeats to start their title defence.

The visitors played the majority of the second half with 10 men after Mario Simic collected his second yellow card in the 58th minute – and saw goalscorer Chris Payne suffer the same fate for time-wasting with just minutes to go – but did enough to ensure victory despite a fast finish from United.

The Jets made a blistering start and went ahead just four minutes into the match, with Andrew Hoole’s low cross from the right met by a tidy finish from Kyle Ewart, making their intentions clear from the get-go.

That lead could have been doubled just three minutes later after a mistake from United defender Jacob Borg, but Payne’s shot was blocked and the gaffe went unpunished.

Regardless, it was unfamiliar territory for the two-time NYL champions, who have been used to getting things their own way at youth level but suddenly found themselves under heavy fire on their own turf.

The Newcastle barrage continued with another chance wasted by Daniel Laiman in the 11th minute, but the hosts buckled down and restored parity five minutes later.

Skipper Zac Anderson used his head – and his height – to nod home an inch-perfect corner from Daniel Bragg to level the scores at 1-1.

The hosts settled but there were worrying signs on the left side of defence – and they can thank the assured efforts of custodian Brendan White for keeping the Jets at bay despite a flurry of shots on goal.

United soon took the lead courtesy of a simply stunning set piece goal from Bragg, whose 31st minute free-kick curled up over the Newcastle wall and into the top left-hand corner of the net.

But concerns still remained at the back and United were exposed once again in the 36th minute – and this time Payne made the most of it, tucking away his chance after dancing his way around two Gold Coast defenders and finding space for the shot.

Half-time came and went but the story remained the same for Gold Coast, and just 20 seconds into the second half Newcastle took back a deserved lead through David Talevski.

A poor touch from Bragg just outside United’s penalty area was pounced upon by the Jets and Talevski was the beneficiary, his goal taking scores to 3-2.

United almost levelled the scores again seven minutes after Simic’s early shower through substitute Chris Harold, who met a delightful cross-field ball from Bowles but cannoned his shot into the upright.

The pressure continued to mount on the Jets as United tried to squeeze an equaliser out of their man advantage, but a series of goal-line clearances, desperate defensive efforts and sturdy shot-stopping from Luke Turnbull closed out the match and ensured they would leave victorious.

Newcastle Jets 3 (Ewart 4, Payne 36, Talevski 46)
Gold Coast United 2 (Anderson 16, Bragg 31)
Owen Park, Southport

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