Sydney's struggles continue with loss to Jets

ANGELA HABASHY
Last updated 22:03 22/12/2012
Jets, Sydney FC
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FLYING HIGH: Ruben Zadkovich of the Jets and Brett Emerton of Sydney contest the ball.

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Newcastle reclaimed a top-six spot in the A-League with a 2-1 win over a struggling Sydney FC at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.

With the Jets plummeting down the ladder after five winless rounds and Sydney propping it up on only 10 points, both teams were desperate to revive their season.

But while the Jets moved up one place to sixth, the Sky Blues remain anchored to the bottom.

Craig Goodwin and Emile Heskey put the hosts in front with Yairo Yau getting one back for Sydney - all in the first half.

When the two sides met in their much-hyped round-two encounter, the Jets produced a thrilling 3-2 win in an entertaining clash in which both marquee men Heskey and Sydney star Alessandro Del Piero scored.

But while Heskey was a present force in Saturday's match, Del Piero barely featured.

There were seven fouls in the first 10 minutes in what was a heated clash.

Fabio conceded a foul for charging James Virgili just outside the penalty area and would come to regret it moments later when Goodwin scored from the ensuing free-kick.

Goodwin curled the ball into the net from an acute angle about four metres out to put the hosts up after 13 minutes and score the Jets' first goal since round eight.

The goal seemed to spark the Jets into life with Virgili making a defence-busting run down the right and forcing a save from Sydney gloveman Vedran Janjetovic.

Virgili worked his way into the box again, this time setting up Liverpool legend Heskey who put the Jets up in the 26th minute with his sixth goal of the season, sending the 17,402 Newcastle faithful into raptures.

To keep the game alive, Sydney struck back minutes later with Panamanian international Yau forcing a save from 'keeper Mark Birighitti.

But Birighitti, in his first match back from a five-week injury lay-off, couldn't contain the ball with Yau slotting the rebound into the back of the net in the 31st minute.

Brilliante had Sky Blues' keeper Janjetovic at full stretch just before halftime with a powerful long-range strike that just shaved the post.

Sydney returned from the break looking to equalise with Rhyan Grant threatening with a strike.

The Jets replied moments later when Ryan Griffiths was able to get on the end of a Goodwin cross with Janjetovic diving to save the header.

Del Piero played a superb ball to Yau in the dying minutes but the striker sent his shot just over the crossbar.

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- AAP

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