The Newcastle Jets held struggling Adelaide United to a 0-0 draw at Coopers Stadium on Sunday, as the Reds missed a chance a climb off the bottom of the A-League table.
Guillermo Amor’s hosts were searching for their first win of the season after becoming just the fifth team in A-League history to take only two points from their opening six matches.
The Jets meanwhile were out to remedy the record 7-0 thrashing they received in the corresponding fixture at the hands of what now seems a very different Adelaide team under Josep Gombau last season.
There were five starting players across the two teams coming up against their former clubs to ensure some extra feeling in this one.
Nigel Boogaard, Cameron Watson and Mark Birighitti all used to call Coopers Stadium home, while Craig Goodwin and Tarek Elrich were both formerly on the Jets’ books.
With the game just eight minutes old the Reds were forced into an early change, Osama Malik succumbing to a hamstring injury.
Youngster Jordan Elsey was called upon as a replacement, making his first appearance in 593 days after being sidelined by a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament.
With Adelaide’s central defensive stocks already depleted by the departure of Boogaard to his hometown club in the off-season, Amor and his backroom staff, as well the Reds supporters, will be hoping Malik is not sidelined for an extended period.
The best chance of the first half fell to Goodwin, who found space down the right wing to advance on goal. Boogaard made a desperate sliding tackle to block the shot and snuff out the danger with authority.
Jets goalkeeper Birighitti has produced the most saves of any shot-stopper this season – despite missing one match through injury – and had to be at his best again to repel the Reds. Two of the Reds’ best chances came off the boot of Jimmy Jeggo, with Birighitti producing crucial acrobatic saves on both occasions.
The draw leaves Newcastle fifth, three points behind leaders Brisbane Roar. Adelaide meanwhile remain bottom, one point back from Perth Glory, who have played one match fewer than the struggling South Australian side.