Teenage striker comes to the rescue as the Reds break travelling hoodoo

Rising Adelaide United star Luka Jovanovic came off the bench to score the solitary goal in Adelaide United’s 1-0 away win over Newcastle Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday night.

Jovanovic came off the bench and produced an individual moment of quality to score the match-winner in the 80th minute and break Adelaide’s three-game run of losses away from home, and seven-straight games without a win.

The three points helped the Reds jump back above Newcastle Jets on the Isuzu UTE A-League table; Carl Veart’s side sit ninth, seven points behind Melbourne City in sixth, with three games still to play in Round 21.

Adelaide dominated early in the first half and had a number of chances to go ahead, beginning with a Hiroshi Ibusuki header from Zach Clough’s corner delivery saved by Ryan Scott.

Giuseppe Bovalina was next to create a chance for Ibusuki with a darting low cross to the back post but the Japanese striker got his feet in a muddle as he diverted the ball wide with the goal at his mercy.

Then came a big chance for Nestory Irankunda to break the deadlock. The teenage Reds winger was played into his attacking half by Ethan Alagich and after shrugging the challenge of Dane Ingham, tried to squeeze a low strike under Jets keeper Scott, but hit the base of the post.

Lucas Mauragis created a pair of opportunities for Newcastle down the other end with exquisite delivery from out wide; the first found the head of Thomas Aquilina who stooped to angle his attempt on target and call James Delianov into a save.

But the subsequent chance should have been converted by Apostolos Stamatelopoulos. The Golden Boot contender was found all alone by Mauragis with the goal at his mercy but the header was too central, allowing Delianov to make another block.

Stefan Mauk thought he’d scored the opener late in the half, swivelling to shrug his marker and brush home a close-range finish but a VAR review scratched the Adelaide goal from the scoreboard.

Irankunda was denied a goal from distance by Scott as a half brimming with chances and featuring five yellow cards ended goalless.

Reno Piscopo injected life into the second half six minutes after the restart with a driven shot swerving toward the top-let corner; a leaping save from Delianov prevented the Jets number 10 breaking the deadlock.

Luka Jovanovic came off the bench for the Reds and in the 65th minute was presented with Adelaide’s best chance of the half, chopping past his defender and rifling a left-footed attempt toward the top corner and just missing the target.

Irankunda was more involved as the game entered its final 20 minutes, having a tight-angled shot saved by Scott before setting both Clough and Jovanovic up for good chances.

Adelaide were knocking at the door – and after an individual piece of magic from Jovanovic, the Reds broke through with 10 minutes to play.

The young striker showed composure in the box to skip past both Kosta Grozos and Brandon O’Neill before angling his shot back towards the bottom-right corner. Scott stood motionless in goal as the ball hit the back of the net.

Scott ventured forward for a late Newcastle corner and latched onto the delivery with a diving header; he put his head in his hands as he realised the chance to earn his side a late point, and become just the second goalkeeper to score in Isuzu UTE A-League history, went begging.