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Jets and Victory forced to settle for draw

Players compete for a header
Players compete for a header

With both teams needing a win to keep their respective hopes intact, a late penalty gave Melbourne Victory a 2-2 draw with Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium on Saturday evening.

The pitch conditions were difficult with Hunter Stadium’s pitch well worn down which allowed the home team to take advantage and gain control first.

Just four minutes in to the match, golden boot-elect, Adam Taggart got behind the Victory defense, but sent his shot across the face of goal.

The opener came in the 18th minute as Josh Brilliante found Emile Heksey who was able to turn and feed Taggart who controlled with his first touch and scored with his second to get things started.

Three minutes later Victory made it 1-1 as Gui Finkler’s corner was sent in for Adrian Leijer who headed the ball on for Mark Milligan who got in a close header to equalize.

But the frantic moments continued and the jets were back in front just two minutes after giving up the lead as David Carney crossed in for Joel Griffiths who sent a ball on for Taggart who headed wide, but regained possession and fount Joshua Birlliante whose shot went off the post and off the back of Leijer before hitting the back of the net.

Newcastle kept pushing to try and find a third with a free-kick from Griffiths sending them close before Nathan Coe made a solid save against Brilliante to keep it 2-1 at the break.

The Jets continued their run in the second half, looking to control proceedings and find the goals that would seal a win that would put them back in the finals .

Newcastle had plenty of chances to find that goal but they just could not find the target, with their finishing letting them down.

Despite the Jets doing well throughout the half, they let Victory in as Josh Mitchell brought down Archie Thompson in the box, allowing Milligan to step up and score the penalty that would put Victory level.

The Jets tried to come back in the final five minutes of the match but they could not find the goal they needed to get all three points, the draw doing little to improve either side’s position.

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