NICK Cowburn scored with a late header to snatch the Newcastle Jets a gritty 1-all draw with Sydney FC at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday night.
A 70th minute replacement for Ben Kantarovski, Cowburn made a run to the near post in the 87th minute and steered a Dimi Petratos freekick in between keeper Andrew Redmayne and the right post.
The goal was the 23-year-old’s first in 60 A-League appearances, the majority of which he has been deployed in a defensive role.
All of a sudden, the Jets came to life and forced Sydney to scramble a number of times in a helter skelter final five minutes.
Still, the home side needed a brilliant save from Glen Moss to keep out a Charles Lokolingoy shot in injury time and ensure a point.
Until Cowburn’s goal, the Jets were second best in most areas.
Alex Brosque has made a habit of scoring against Newcastle and the Sydney skipper struck again in the 20th minute to put the visitors ahead.
The former Socceroo glanced a header under the gloves of Moss, which the former Kiwi international would normally have kept out.
Instead, it went in the book as Brosque’s 14th goal in 29 appearances against Newcastle.
The draw was the Jets’ second point of the campaign and moved them alongside the Central Coast Mariners.
Ernie Merrick made one forced change to the Jets XI. Ben Kantarovski came into midfield for an injured Matthew Ridenton (calf).
Sydney were unchanged for a fourth straight match.
The match was end to end from the very first whistle.
Jair burst into the box in the fifth minute and laid off to Petratos. His shot was blocked and Ronny Vargas couldn’t put the rebound away.
Two minutes later, Steve Ugarkovic threaded a ball into the box but again the Jets couldn’ t summons a killer blow.
At the other end, Adam Le Fondre collected a ball Nikolai Topor-Stanley failed to clear but his normally lethal radar was off target and he pulled his shot past the right post.
It was the Englishman’s striker partner who put the visitors ahead in the 20th minute.
Brandon O’Neill released Rhyan Grant down the right. As the fullback approached the by-line he cut the ball square for Brosque to glance a header which squeezed under the gloves of Moss.
The Jets pushed and probed but couldn’t break open the Sydney defence.
Vargas’ early attempt straight at Andrew Redmayne was their only shot on target in the first half.
O’Neill and Josh Brillante closed down danger men Varags and Petratos and the Sky Blues scrambled well and nipped in when needed.
Brosque should have had a second 12 minutes into the second half when again found by Grant. But with Moss to beat he flashed his header past the right post.
Moss made amends for his early mistake with a spectacular diving effort to deny Milos Ninkovic in the 65th minute.