A heated post-game exchange involving rival coaches and Charlestown marquee Ljubo Milicevic overshadowed the Newcastle Jets Youth’s 1-0 win and best performance of the Northern NSW NPL season on Sunday.
Kieran Hayes poked home the winner in the 80th minute off a one-on-one chance in the round 11 clash at Lisle Carr Oval.
However, all eyes were on Milicevic, Jets coach and CEO Lawrie McKinna and Charlestown counterpart David Tanchevski after full-time as they had words. Milicevic, a former Jets skipper and Socceroo, refused to shake hands with McKinna.
“I just went to shake hands,” McKinna said. “It was a good, hard-fought game, and he didn’t want to, but that’s fine.”
Tanchevski was upset with the Jets’ time-wasting tactics, given they are a development side. The visitors took exception to some of the Blues tackles.
“We spoke afterwards and it’s all good. It was just heat of the moment, but it happens,” McKinna said of the coaches’ exchange.
“He was frustrated they lost and we were happy we won. It was quite tight at the end. They were chucking guys forward and we were catching them on the break.”
The victory took the Jets, who do not feature in finals, to 13 points and kept them eighth.
“It was a great win and it was probably the best we've played all season for a full game,” McKinna said.
“Usually we drop in and out of games, with the young boys we have, but we played good football, we defended well and we deserved to get the late goal.
“It’s good for our boys, because, as I said to [Tanchevski], we need to get our boys ready to play first team.
“It doesn’t matter if they are 16 or 18, it’s about winning and shutting out a game sometimes. It’s all about being a football player. Learning how to win games.”
Tanchevski said “it just wasn’t our day”.
“Scott Smith missed two one-on-ones, and I don’t know the last time he’s done that. On another day we’d win that game two or three nil. Then we pushed for the winner at the end and they get a goal against the run of play. But they played well, they played good football and we didn’t take our chances.”
At Magic Park, Broadmeadow and Maitland had a scoreless draw. It dropped Magic (20 points) to second and Maitland to fifth (17).
Also Sunday, Hamilton substitute Kane Treble scored an 84th-minute winner off a rebounded shot in a 2-1 victory over the Bears at Weston Park.
Jarryd Sutherland jumped on a loose pass to put Hamilton ahead in the 15th minute. Jackson Burston equalised with a header in the 72nd before Olympic struck to move to 13 points and stay seventh.
On Saturday night, Edgeworth (22 points) went atop the table with a 1-0 win over Valentine at Jack McLaughlan Oval. Will Bower scored in the 86th minute.
Earlier at Edden Oval, Lambton Jaffas (18) beat Lake Macquarie 2-1 with goals from Braedyn Crowley and Ryan Griffiths to move into the top four.
Sam Walker scored for Lake Macquarie with a long-range thunderbolt in the 25th minute but the Jaffas levelled a minute later with a clever chipped finish from Crowley.
Joel Griffiths teed up his brother Ryan for the winner in the 38th minute.
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