MATT Millar struck late to earn the Newcastle Jets a well-deserved 1-all draw with Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday night and give new coach Carl Robinson a positive start to his A-League tenure.
The Jets trailed 1-0 after five minutes courtesy of a Mitch Duke penalty, and for the next 70 minutes it looked like being a frustrating night for the visitors.
As they have done for most of the campaign, the Jets produced plenty of fight and patches of quality but couldn't deliver a killer blow.
Daniel Lopar was brilliant in goals for the home side, while Bobby Burns was denied by the woodwork.
The Jets dominated the second half and the pressure eventually took its toll in the 75th minute.
Millar played a neat one-two with Roy O'Donovan and the right wingback slid a shot past Lopar at the near post.
The Jets pressed hard for the winner but in the end had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Robinson was happy with the way the Jets rebounded after a shaky opening 20 minutes and in the end was "disappointed" not have taken all three points.
"There are moments in games where you are going to have to defend," Robinson said. "Ours was in the first 20 minutes. Credit to Western Sydney they started very, very well and put is under pressure. We gifted them a goal by a lack of defensive discipline. Then for five or ten minutes we had a little wobble and they could have scored one or two more. But we hung in there and from the 20th minute onwards, we got control of the game. The boys did exactly what I wanted and the second half was very strong performace. We got the goal we deserved and I feel a little disappointed we haven't won the game."
The point ended a five-game losing streak on the road and moved them to 14 points and above Central Coast, who went down 2-0 to Adelaide on Friday.
It is the first time the Jets have been off the bottom of the ladder since round 10.
Robinson spent much of his first week in charge, outlining players' roles and responsibilities, especially at set pieces.
The Welshman would have been happy with the commitment and desperation.
After absorbing a ton of early pressure, the visitors took control from the 30-minute mark and finished in front in most statistics.
Angus Thurgate replaced midfielder Ben Kantarovski (quadriceps) in the only change to the Jets' XI which beat Central Coast 4-3 to end a nine-game winless streak.
Irish striker Simon Cox came into the Wanderers line-up after scoring on debut in the 3-1 win over the Mariners a fortnight ago. The Wanderers' clash against Sydney last round was postponed due to wet weather.
Kick-off was delayed 21 minutes after a storm front hit Bankwest Stadium, bringing torrential rain and lightning.
The Jets had lost five straight on the road and they got off to a disastrous start in Parramatta, conceding inside five minutes through Duke.
Bruce Kamau scorched Burns down the right wing. Rather than let the Wanderers' flyer go, the Northern Irish defender clattered into him, leaving referee Shaun Evans with an easy decision to point to the spot.
Duke made no mistake, smashing a fierce shot down the middle.
The visitors had keeper Lewis Italiano to thank for not being 2-0 down after 10 minutes. He rushed off his line and dived at the feet of Cox as he was about to pull the trigger.
Two minutes later, Duke hit the woodwork from a Nicolai Muller cross as the Jets continued to live dangerously.
Wanderers caused havoc down the right through Kamau's pace. Burns lashed out with his boot in the 21st minute and was booked.
The Jets started to get a foothold late in the half and were unlucky not to go to the break on level terms.
Abdiel Arroyo glanced an angled header past the right post and Dimi Petratos couldn't generate enough power with a header to beat Lopar.
On the stroke of half time, Millar collected a long ball and burst into the box but could beat the out-stretched boot of Lopar.
The visitors started the second half in the same vein as they finished the first.
Again they couldn't beat Lopar who tipped two shots over the bar in quick succession.
Burns beat the keeper but not the crossbar in 55th minute after a great ball from Millar.
The tide was turning. All that was missing was a goal.