Newcastle Jets 0-0 Adelaide United
The Newcastle Jets were unable to close in on a finals position after being held to a scoreless draw by Adelaide United at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday evening.
With Wellington losing the day prior to Sydney FC, a win for Ernie Merrick’s men would have brought them within three points of sixth with only seven games to go.
However, the Jets seem to have fallen victim to the long-distance travel and hectic schedule as they put in a lethargic performance.
Adelaide were looking to close the gap on third-placed Melbourne Victory with a win, after a loss and a draw in their last two games.
Newcastle had an early chance when Ivan Vujica’s cross missed both Roy O’Donovan and Kaine Sheppard, neither striker getting a touch on the inviting square ball.
Craig Goodwin came the closest for the Reds when he rattled the cross-bar on the stroke of half-time.
The Jets were looking for a spark, and Joey Champness’ introduction almost paid immediate dividends, with his deflected shot forcing a brilliant save out of Paul Izzo.
Adelaide began to push late on with Goodwin once again created havoc for the Jets defenders, but his shot was well saved by Glen Moss, before O’Donovan missed a guilt edged opportunity back the other way in the dying minutes.
The draw leaves the Jets in seventh and face a tough away trip to Geelong to take on the Melbourne Victory at GMHBA Stadium next Saturday night.
The Reds still sit fourth after the draw, with a two point buffer on fifth-placed Melbourne City. They face an FFA Cup Final rematch with Sydney FC at Leichhardt Oval on Friday night.
Western Sydney Wanderers 1-1 Perth Glory
A late Tarek Elrich cracker ruined Tony Popovic’s homecoming, as the Western Sydney Wanderers stole a late point against first-placed Perth Glory in the final A-League clash at Spotless Stadium.
The Wanderers were already facing a mountain to climb with Jordan O’Doherty being forced off with what looked to be a serious knee injury inside the opening fifteen minutes.
Perth were able to establish full control early, as former Wanderer Chris Ikonomidis gave the away side the lead in the 23rd minute, declining to celebrate his goal.
It was almost two for the Glory as Ikonomidis’ torment of the Wanderers defence continued, with his header brilliantly saved by Vedran Janjetovic.
Oriol Riera – who had recently ended his goalless run – almost had one back for the home side, but Liam Reddy produced a fantastic save to keep the Glory in the lead at the break.
It could have been a much different story for the Glory had it not been for another Janjetovic save, as the much-maligned keeper expertly dispelled Andy Keogh’s effort to keep Markus Babbel’s men in the game.
Babbel turned to Mitchell Duke and the returning Mark Bridge for some inspiration from the bench as the Wanderers searched for an equaliser, and were finally rewarded when Elrich curled home an unstoppable effort from range to save a point.
The late leveller for the Wanderers makes it three games without a loss as they continued their mini resurgence in the latter part of the season, but still sit eleven points outside the six with seven games to go.
Western Sydney will have the week off to recuperate for the remainder of the season, before travelling up north to face the Brisbane Roar on March 8 at Suncorp Stadium.
The Glory now go eleven games without a loss, and sit eight points clear of Sydney FC in top spot ahead of another away trip to to face Warren Joyce’s City outfit at AAMI Park on Sunday evening.