Adelaide draw with Jets
Photo Source: AAP
New Newcastle coach Mark Jones believes his unfancied side might have pulled off an upset win over reigning champions Adelaide but for some calamitous defending that changed the course of the match.
Jones gave his first game in charge a "big tick" after his Jets held the Reds to a 1-1 draw at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
But the 50-year-old felt his outfit may have doubled their first-half advantage had goalkeeper Jack Duncan and defender Daniel Mullen not been caught up in a moment of miscommunication.
Up a goal thanks to English midfielder Wayne Brown, Duncan raced off his line and clattered into Mullen, leaving the pair prone on the ground and allowing Makarounas to help himself to an open net.
"At that stage we were in a decent position so it was disappointing to concede a goal in that fashion," Jones said.
"We had the opportunity for a second goal there. If we got that it could have been a different outcome.
"We were good value for the point and unlucky not to get more."
Indeed, Newcastle played with a liveliness that belied their tumultuous off-season, during which former coach Scott Miller was sacked.
They also held their own in a contest that picked off key players to injury, with Mullen (medial ligament), Jason Hoffman (calf) and Finnish striker Aleksandr Kokko (Achilles), who hit the crossbar early, all retiring mid-match.
Newcastle struck first when, against the run of play, Andrew Nabbout found Brown.
With United custodian Eugene Galekovic off his line, he raked a long-range shot into the top-left corner.
It put Adelaide 's bright start off kilter until Makarounas restored parity.
The 22-year-old Makarounas was in stirring form, at one point evading two defenders and passing off sweetly to Sergio Cirio, only for the Spaniard to blast into the side netting.
A flurry of chances came and went for both sides but neither could land the killer blow in a goalless second half.
Former Jet James Holland made an impact on debut with some brave defending to single-handedly stop Andrew Hoole netting the winner.
Henrique clipped a dangerous ball towards goal while Hoole and Devante Clut tested Galekovic's mettle.
In the end, his Jets counterpart Duncan atoned for his earlier error with aplomb, tipping Ben Garuccio's dangerous free-kick over the crossbar.
Coach Guillermo Amor praised the performance of his players but said it was not the ideal way to open a title defence.
"I prefer to win," Amor said.
"Sometimes it's not possible. This was a hard game."