Newcastle Jets coach Clayton Zane says his team can’t afford to sit around and sulk after their 2-1 loss to Perth Glory left them in danger of missing the A-League finals.
The fight to finish in the top-six is set to intensify over the next fortnight as eight teams battle it out to secure a finals berth.
Adelaide and Central Coast were the big winners of the round, while Newcastle were left kicking themselves after a minute of madness cost them dearly in their loss to Perth.
The Mariners leapfrogged Western Sydney into second spot with a 2-1 win over the Wanderers, while Adelaide’s 1-0 win over Wellington saw the Reds jump into fourth.
Adelaide’s win came courtesy of Marcelo Carrusca’s second-half penalty, with coach Josep Gombau hopeful that key players Jeronimo Neumann and Sergio Cirio will return from injury for next Friday’s clash with Melbourne Heart.
Newcastle appeared on track for victory in Perth when Adam Taggart’s 14th goal of the season gave them a 1-0 lead in the 61st minute.
But a stunning 84th-minute free kick to Nebojsa Marinkovic and a neat header from Chris Harold a minute later secured all three points for the Glory, who are now equal on points with Melbourne Heart in a race to avoid the wooden spoon.
The result saw the Jets stumble to seventh spot – one point behind Sydney FC.
Zane predicted his side would need to collect at least four points from their remaining two games against Victory and Adelaide if they are to make the finals.
“We need to get back on track and start to focus straight away,” Zane said.
“We don’t have time to sit around and sulk. We know what we need to do.”
Brisbane, who overcame Besart Berisha’s red card to beat Heart 2-1 on Friday, are guaranteed to finish first.
Sixth-placed Sydney (33) face a crunch clash against Wellington (28) on Sunday, while Adelaide (37) have the chance to boost their chances of a top-four finish when they take on Heart.
The third-placed Wanderers (38) are just a point off second spot, but they’ll need a positive result against Brisbane if they are to leapfrog the Mariners.