Thursday, October 11, 2012

Heskey makes losing start

It turns out the A-League upsets were not confined exclusively to star Sydney FC signing Alessandro del Piero.

Another high-profile arrival, Emile Heksey of Newcastle Jets, lasted just 72 minutes of a 2-0 defeat by Adelaide United at Hunter Stadium.

The former England striker only arrived in Australia 10 days ago but was lauded by coach Gary van Egmond for a performance packed with enthusiasm but lacking the panache to ever suggest the outcome would be different.

Much of the post-match reflection will centre on a day to forget for Heksey but Adelaide, who were outsiders in the A league betting, also deserve the column inches for a display which belied a stamina-taxing extra-time quarter-final Asian Champions League defeat by Bunyodkor in Uzbekistan less than four days ago.

Reds coach John Kosmina, whose side spent 33 hours making the 11,000-kilometre journey from Tashkent to Newcastle, admitted it had been a "long week" but was encouraged by a "fantastic effort".

Heskey alone was not to blame as the Jets succumbed to goals from Dario Vidosic and Iain Ramsay in front of 14,868 fans. The goal which killed the contest came three minutes after he had got the hook after all.

Punters betting on soccer will have noted that Newcastle lacked the craft and guile in the final third to ever threaten Adelaide and the red card shown to goalkeeper Mark Birighitti on 56 minutes changed the whole dynamics of the game.

Heskey will have better days ahead and van Egmond admitted an obvious area for improvement is getting players buzzing in and around the 34-year-old to feed off his scraps.

The Jets could not be faulted for not trying but a run of three straight defeats carried over from last season is becoming a worry.

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