United ‘happy’ with valuable draw against Jets
ADELAIDE United earned a valuable point in a contest which was hard on the eye but one which coach Marco Kurz says is a positive step in locking down fourth spot.
Adelaide's goalless draw with Newcastle Jets on Sunday was a chance for the Reds to move closer to third place to earn a realistic shot at 2020 AFC Champions League but the clash lacked clinical finishing.
Kurz was content with a clean sheet after Jordan Elsey failed to recover from an injury he picked up 10 days ago allowing makeshift stopper Michael Marrone to make his 200th appearance.
It was Kurz's only change to the XI which lost 3-1 to Western Sydney at Hindmarsh.
"I think we played a good game away, we had in the first half control of the game and we could have scored with two chances, we have to score one goal for sure, Goodie (Craig Goodwin) found only the cross bar," Kurz said.
"We had maybe the better chances, it is not easy for us at the moment, we have a lot of injured players and the replacement for Jordan Elsey was Mickey Marrone but Mickey did a good job.
"At the end the minimum aim was to hold the points distance (from Jets) we can live with a draw better than Newcastle.
"We travelled here to Newcastle to win, we are happy, the team fought very good from our side it was a very serious game and we waited for the right moment.
"I remembered in the past we played too many long balls and conceded in the past six goals, now it's good to have a clean sheet."
Adelaide is now seven points adrift of third placed Melbourne Victory, two points better than fifth-placed Melbourne City and eight points clear of Jets (seventh).
Sensing the Jets would be low on confidence and fatigued after they were jettisoned from the Champions League group stage midweek, United had a solid grip on the game.
Adelaide shackled the home side inside their own half but was impotent when it came to testing Jets gloveman Glen Moss until the 42nd minute.
Goodwin created the best chance of the first half when he easily skipped a lunging Nigel Boogaard tackle.
He made his way inside the box before his drive cannoned off the crossbar.
Goodwin then firing a shot into the body of Jets defender prompted the video assistant referee to have a second look at the incident inside the box but referee Adam Fielding wasn't required to intervene in the 47th minute.
Adelaide was intent on keeping the Jets pinned inside their own half but it was evident frustration was creeping in when promising attacks continually faded as the Reds forced 10 corners to three by the 56th minute.
A powerful 25m shot winding past Moss' upright from Ryan Strain was another warning that Adelaide was close but not good enough to put Jets on notice.
Jordy Thomassen protested that he was fouled inside the box when Goodwin suppled a perfect cross, but it didn't attract the attention of the VAR.
Mirko Boland then firing a 20m shot over the bar before United squandered another chance, this time from Ryan Kitto.
With Adelaide firing blanks, Jair forcing goalkeeper Paul Izzo to bend over for a meek effort signalled that the home side was taking risks.
Scott Galloway ending his shift to what appeared to be an injury for Vince Lia saw the Jets push for a winner, which almost arrived when Roy O'Donovan mistimed a free header 10 minutes before fulltime.
NEWCASTLE JETS 0 drew ADELAIDE UNITED 0 at McDonald Jones Stadium. Crowd: 8,912. Referee: Adam Fielding.