Gold Coast Knights have been knocked out of the FFA Cup, losing 1-0 Newcastle Jets in a gallant display in last night’s Round of 32 fixture at Cbus Super Stadium.
Over 2,000 spectators were on hand to watch as Knights proved worthy opponents against the 2018 Hyundai A-League grand finalists.
The only goal of the game came in the 11th minute through Jets captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley, who found the back of the net from close range after a corner led to a scramble in the box.
In a half of end-to-end football, Knights looked dangerous whenever they found space and had plenty of chances to score, but struggled to convert their chances into goals.
Their first opportunity came after just five minutes when Morgan Saunders found himself one-on-one with Jets goalkeeper Glen Moss who was able to confidently block his shot.
Later in the first half, Knights’ Justyn McKay had the chance to equalize with a strong shot on target that left Moss to force the ball over the top of the net.
A number of other shots sailed high above the net as Knights continued to find themselves in good position to lock up the game.
Spectators held their breath as Jets came dangerously close to scoring again through a Dimitri Petratos free kick in the 41st minute, but Knights goalkeeper Joshua Langdon delivered a brilliant save to tip the ball above the net.
Knights had the crossbar to thank at times, with Newcastle’s shots ricocheting off the woodwork twice in the first half.
With an abundance of chances before the break, Knights’ few opportunities in the second half came early.
McKay again forced Moss into a save in the 50th minute, before a golden opportunity for Nicholas Panetta from a narrow angle in front of an open goal sailed wide just minutes later.
From then on the visitors took control of the game, with Knights looking less impactful as the game wore on.
While Jets too looked less likely to score in the second half, Knights’ keeper Langdon delivered some important saves to keep the game at 1-0.
“I think the boys played very, very well,” Knights coach Grae Piddick said post-match.
“They stuck to the plan and basically did everything they could to win the game, bar take a few chances. They were very good chances to score goals, not half chances.
“That’s probably the only disappointing thing – to come off the field knowing that you gave it a red hot crack and created opportunities, but just couldn’t quite find the back of the net.”
Newcastle Jets now progress to the FFA Cup Round of 16 for the first time, while the Gold Coast Knights are NPL Queensland-bound next season.
Words: Elizabeth Lepre
Image: Getty Images