Sydney FC’s undefeated run at Allianz Stadium has been extended to 24 games and set an A-League record, after a 2-2 draw with Newcastle Jets on Wednesday.
Although the Sky Blues’ dominant eight-point lead at the summit of the A-League remains intact, on the whole Sydney were largely outclassed by an impressive second-placed Newcastle side.
Ernie Merrick has yet to play a full-strength side since Round 3, this time without captain Nigel Boogaard, Ivan Vujica, Ben Kantarovski, and new signings Patricio Rodriguez and Riley McGree for the top of the table encounter.
However, his side went ahead first after Andrew Nabbout rose the highest to bury a powerful header past Andrew Redmayne on 10 minutes.
Milos Ninkovic levelled up 6 minutes later after linking with Bobo before weaving his way through a host of Jets defenders, before calmly dinking the ball over the onrushing Glen Moss.
Joey Champness restored the Jets’ in the 62nd minute, smashing a thumping first-time effort into the back of the net. However Sydney rallied to come from behind in the 87th minute of the game, after Adrian Mierzejewski found space down the left flank and picked out Bobo with a superb cross with the Brazilian burying a close-range header.
Despite Sydney having 62 per cent possession and 19 shots to the Jets’ 12, Merrick’s men may have found a way to beat Sydney in the future, by playing harder in the tackle, compact in defence and quick on the break.
“Their midfielders and wide players, their fullbacks get forward, their midfielders come inside and we had planned to negate that. It was very important because they take risks going forward with both fullbacks we planned to counter attack on both flanks,” Jets coach Ernie Merrick said.
“You’ve got to give credit to Newcastle, they came with a game plan to defend and hit us on the break and they’ve got pace up front and our rest defence behind the ball wasn’t what it usually is in the first half,” Sydney coach Graham Arnold said.
“By the time I could get the boys in at half time and fix that, then I thought in the second half there was only one team that looked like winning.”