Spirited Sydney Denied Win By Late Penalty

An agonising late penalty has denied Sydney FC all three points in a battling display against Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium.

An agonising late penalty has denied Sydney FC all three points in a battling display against Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium.

The Sky Blues team, missing six experienced first team regulars, led 2-1 with just seconds to go when a Ryan Griffiths spot-kick levelled the contest.

It was a disappointing end for Sydney who had shown great fighting spirit throughout and fought back to lead a second time, after a controversial first half equaliser for the Jets.

Injury and suspension forced coach Frank Farina to make five changes to the team that lined up against Melbourne Victory a week ago, with Nathan Sherlock, Adam Griffiths, Terry Antonis, Peter Triantis and Blake Powell coming into a youthful looking starting eleven.

Wet and windy conditions greeted the players at kick off and it was the Jets who almost created the first opening with Ryan Griffiths finding space on the right, only for Sebastian Ryall to cut out his dangerous low centre.

Sydney were the first to make an impact on the scoresheet after a dreadful error by Jets defender Connor Chapman in the 9th minute.

The right back mis-controlled a pass out of defence which fell to McFlynn. His quick touch to Del Piero put the Italian clear inside the penalty area and the striker made no mistake curling the ball past Birighitti in the Jets goal.

However the joy didn-t last long as the Jets had a chance to equalise two minutes later.

Ryan Griffiths broke clear on the right and fell in the box under pressure from Rhyan Grant.

Despite the minimal contact referee Jarred Gillett pointed to the spot under heavy protests from the Sydney players, which saw Ryan-s Sydney FC brother Adam Griffiths booked.

Once order had been restored the Jets half of the siblings stepped up to slot home to the left of Janjetovic.

Newcastle twice came close to going in front on the half hour but were denied by the head of Peter Triantis. A right wing corner looked to have beaten everyone but Triantis who was positioned on the near post to head clear.

The clearance fell to Goodwin who controlled and fired back towards goal only for Triantis to make another headed interception.

With 34 minutes on the clock the Jets- should have taken the lead with striker Ryan Griffiths making another surge down the right. However his centre was hit far too long with Goodwin free and waiting for a tap-in.

Sydney almost capitalised five minutes from half time after Del Piero won a free kick 25 yards from goal. The Italian picked himself up from the challenge by three Jets players and fired a superb goal bound shot which was tipped around the post by goalkeeper Mark Birighitti.

The World Cup winner was in the action once again on the stroke of half time. A clever turn on the touchline deceived Zadkovich and allowed the superstar to curl a brilliant left footed cross to the feet of Antonis on the other side of the pitch.

The 19 year old cut inside full back Scott Neville and hit a shot which was beaten away by Birighitti to keep scores level at half time.

Sydney were first to create an effort after the break. A cleverly worked free kick taken by Del Piero found the head of Grant at the goalline who headed back across the area for Abbas to direct a header which was palmed clear by the goalkeeper.

The Sky Blues didn-t have to wait long however to find the lead again. Del Piero led a counter attack and found Abbas in support on his left. The Iraqi hit a low shot which was parried to an unmarked Blake Powell to side foot home and put Sydney 2-1 in front.

The wind made conditions very difficult to play in, particularly for Sydney who were playing into the gusts.

Both sides battled on with Antonis and Ryall missing half chances for the Sky Blues and Heskey failing to direct a Goodwin cross on target.

The Jets weren-t to be denied though and with just two minutes remaining they were level. Emile Heskey won a header at the back post which dropped to Ryan Griffiths and the Newcastle forward-s shot struck the arm of Sydney captain Terry McFlynn on the goalline.

Referee Jarred Gillett immediately awarded the Jets their second penalty of the game and sent the Sky Blues skipper for an early bath.

The penalty was duly tucked away by Griffiths leaving both teams with a point from a spirited encounter.

The draw leaves Sydney still in contention for the final six with two crucial home games in the next two weekends.

Brisbane Roar are first up at Allianz Stadium next Sunday afternoon followed by Adelaide United the following Saturday night.

Sydney FC 2 drew with Newcastle Jets 2. Hunter Stadium Crowd: 12,428 Referee: Jarred Gillet

SYDNEY FC: 20. Vedran JANJETOVIC (GK). 2. Sebastian RYALL, 5. Nathan SHERLOCK, 8. Adam GRIFFITHS, 10. Alessandro DEL PIERO, 12. Blake POWELL, 15. Terry MCFLYNN, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 22. Ali ABBAS (9. Paul REID 89'), 23. Rhyan GRANT, 26. Peter TRIANTIS.

Substitute not used: 1 Ivan NECEVSKI, 16. Joel CHIANESE, 18. Trent MCCLENAHAN

Yellow Cards: (A.GRIFFITHS 14-”, SHERLOCK 18-, ABBAS 45-, ANTONIS 53-) . Red Cards: (McFLYNN 86-)

NEWCASTLE JETS: 20. Mark BIRIGHITTI, 2. Scott NEVILLE (17. James VIRGILI 76-), 4. Josh MITCHELL, 7. James BROWN (19. Michael BRIDGES 59-), 8. Ruben ZADKOVICH ©, 9 Emile HESKEY, 11. Connor CHAPMAN, 12. Joshua BRILLIANTE (3. Zenon CARAVELLA 76-), 15. Craig GOODWIN, 23. Ryan GRIFFITHS, 26. Andrew HOOLE.

Substitutes not used: 30. Jack DUNCAN.

Yellow Cards: None .