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'Running out of goodwill fast': Three things we learned - City vs Newcastle

Snagging a late equaliser in added time after going down to 10 men in the first half would usually feel like a win, but with Adelaide breathing down our necks, a draw at home to the lackluster Newcastle Jets felt more like a loss today.

That said, with frustrating refereeing decisions, a red card, and a goal in the 91st minute from a young substitute, there was certainly plenty to talk about:

Not Quite Right

Something about the team just hasn't been right lately.

Passes are misplaced, players aren't where they need to be, and we're needlessly giving up the ball all over the park. Rado Vidosic has earned his fair share of detractors, and with an extended run of inconsistent results, he's running out of goodwill fast.

The Pressure Mounts | Photo: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

We can't be relying on decent refereeing to keep us in games, we need to put games against far weaker opposition out of the reach of bad ref decisions, though you just need a pair of eyes to see that the refs had a shocker today. It seemed right from the outset that decisions were not going to go our way, with the Jets receiving soft calls all over the field, meanwhile, Tilio could get bowled over while nearing the penalty box and not get a second look. So it came with little surprise when in the 41st minute Jamieson was served a second yellow after a 50-50 challenge in which he appeared to get the ball as much as his opponent.

The Premiership Plate has gone from near certainty to doubtful thanks to these underwhelming performances against teams that we really should be wiping the floor with.

Running Out of Steam

The gaffer has his fair share of complaints too; Richard van der Venne had been in a rich vein of form before injuring his hamstring, and how do you replace the best player in the league in Mathew Leckie?

Well, we've always bragged about our riches of depth in every position, but for the first time in recent memory that depth is being tested and we're serving up Nuno at right-back and Jamieson as a defensive midfielder.

Self-Examination Needed | Photo: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

For all his promise early on, Berisha has been a clear disappointment, uncreative in the midfield, and unable to keep his shots from rising over the crossbar. Berenguer has been in and out of the squad all year, but with VDV still injured and Jamieson now suspended, Rado will surely have his hand forced. And doesn't a midfield of O'Neill, Berisha and Berenguer sound like a vast improvement anyway?

Meanwhile Nabbout, for all his pace and power, really let us down today as he consistently got into dangerous positions only to take a heavy touch and see all his hard work come to naught.

Jamie Maclaren has now gone four games without scoring, and when he doesn't score, we don't see him at all.

If the boys need a big opponent to bring their best game, they'll have plenty of opportunities in a busy last month of the season. The team are going to have to begin to lift their game if they want to beat the Central Coast Mariners away and the Western Sydney Wanderers at home, we can't be serving up a performance like we did today against tougher opponents. Let's hope the boys can rediscover their chemistry from early on in the season and really start to click again.

Something to Smile About

Not everything was so glum though.

We had great performances from our ever-reliable centre-backs (even with their numerical advantage Newcastle only managed to score from an early penalty). Bos continued to run rampant on the left side of the pitch, and O'Neill was a one-man war machine in the midfield.

But the highlight of the match was 17-year-old Max Caputo becoming the club's youngest ever goalscorer as he headed home from a corner during the 92nd minute - having only come onto the field two minutes earlier - and salvaging a point for us at the death. Hopefully, it's the first of many we see from the promising young talent who saved us from total disappointment at home.

A New Talent Emerges | Photo: Andrew Wiseman (@wisemansports)

The other positive is that we thankfully have a quick turnaround to help us forget what was a largely negative and frustrating game.

All attention will now be turned to the resumption of the abandoned derby on Wednesday night, with the strain of a quick turnaround eased by the fact that we only have 69 minutes to play. With a goal advantage already to our names, let's hope the midweek fixture is an example of a weaker side that we do indeed put to the sword and earn a five-point gap on Adelaide, with one hand back on the title.

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