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ALM: Jets eke out 2-all thriller with Bulls

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Pre-game, Newcastle Jets coach Rob Stanton said the A-League Men’s (ALM) outfit needed to “win the big moments”.

Sadly, despite producing an outstanding performance, his men were unable to claim those “occasions” when it counted.

And, they were forced to share the points with the fourth-placed Macarthur Bulls after a thrilling 2-all scoreline at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday 25 February.

Newcastle Jets skipper Brandon O’Neill flies high against the Macarthur Bulls’ Valère Germain. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

It seemed an unfair result, considering the hosts’ numerous shots on target.

However, unlike previous weeks, the Jets started sharply and showed their intent early.

In the second minute, Lucas Mauragis’ left-footer from outside the box narrowly missed the mark.

It was a similar story for Trent Buhagiar, soon after, when his attempt went astray.

Mauragis then unleashed a beautiful pass across the face of goal, only to see Buhagiar fail to put it away.

Newcastle continued to attack and, on this occasion, Callum Timmins’ booming strike was parried away by Macarthur keeper Filip Kurto.

In the 24th minute, Buhagiar wasted another golden opportunity. Instead of firing the shot immediately, he opted to control the ball, which gave the Bulls time to reset their wall.

At the other end of the field, Jed Drew caused numerous headaches for the Jets, before desperate defence denied Macarthur’s Tomislav Uskok from scoring.

A cracking effort by Raphael Borges Rodrigues was saved by Newcastle goalie Ryan Scott, too.

Jets star striker Apostolos Stamatelopoulos almost put the home side on the board before the break, however the ball sailed just wide.

He then had a further chance in stoppage time, following some excellent work by Phillip Cancar.

But, again, he was unable to convert, leaving the teams locked at 0-all.

It was a frustrating afternoon for young gun Clayton Taylor at McDonald Jones Stadium. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

Stanton rang in the changes in the 59th minute, replacing Taylor and Buhagiar with Daniel Stynes and Archie Goodwin respectively.

And, the move sparked Newcastle.

Another Mauragis incursion looked promising… but Kurto was up to the task.

Against the run of play, the Bulls hit the front 1-0 in the 69th minute when Ulises Davila, aided by Valere Germain, snuck one past an out-stretched Scott.

However, within 90 seconds, the Jets responded.

Mauragis found a flying Daniel Wilmering on the left, who cut it back to an unmarked Goodwin. The hometown product levelled the encounter 1-all to send the vocal crowd into raptures.

The local supporters were quickly silenced when Davila drew Scott out of his area and deftly chipped over to Germain, who put the visitors ahead 2-1.

But, the excitement wasn’t over.

In the 87th minute, Mauragis drew a foul in the penalty area and Stamatelopoulos stepped up to equalise at 2-all, netting his 14th goal of the season.

The Jets launched a couple of raids in the dying stages, however they had to settle for a draw.

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