A goal at the death robbed the Newcastle Jets of a gutsy victory on the road – and a chance to move into the top six – at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Friday night.
The Rob Stanton-coached A-League Men’s (ALM) outfit looked set to upstage the fifth-placed Macarthur Bulls 1-0, however Phillip Cancar’s foul on Lachlan Rose resulted in a heart-breaking penalty in the 98th minute.
Valère Germain calmly stepped up to plant a right-footed shot past Newcastle keeper Ryan Scott to draw level 1-all, with the competition points being shared.
It was a shattering moment for Cancar, and the Jets, who absorbed a lot of pressure from Ulises Dávila, Germain and Jake Hollman in a frenetic second half.
And, to a man, the defence appeared up to the task.
Mark Natta, Dane Ingham, Lucas Mauragis, Cancar and Scott all combined resolutely to deny the Bulls on countless occasions.
But, a mistake at the end proved costly.
Even without Apostolos Stamatelopoulos (suspended) and Reno Piscopo (injured), Newcastle looked sharp in the opening exchanges, with Thomas Aquilina, Clayton Taylor and Trent Buhagiar causing numerous headaches.
Taylor went close in the seventh minute, however he didn’t have to wait long to score.
Almost immediately, Aquilina fired in a brilliant cross, which the midfielder capitalised on to put his side ahead 1-0.
The pair joined forces soon after, but Taylor agonisingly hit the bar.
Macarthur kept Scott busy in the 19th minute, with the goalie blocking whole-hearted efforts of Clayton Lewis and Germain.
The Jets refused to lay down, with Buhagiar, Kosta Grozos and Aquilina placing Bulls No. 12 Filip Kurto into the hot seat.
Despite enjoying numerous opportunities, the visitors only led 1-0 at the break.
The Bulls thought they levelled up straight after the resumption.
However, the VAR ruled Dávila offside in the 48th minute, much to relief of Stanton.
That only spurred Macarthur on even more… and the hosts launched attack after attack, spending long periods in enemy territory.
But, in spite of all the possession, the Bulls still couldn’t crack Newcastle.
That was until stoppage time, with Cancar learning a valuable – and tough – lesson.
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