Newcastle Jets coach Gary van Egmond has admitted his side were lucky to snatch a late 2-2 draw with Sydney FC in a tense Hyundai A-League clash at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.
Sydney looked likely to grab the win via goals to Alessandro Del Piero in the 11th minute and Blake Powell just before the hour mark. But two penalties to Jets striker Ryan Griffiths, the second coming in the final minute of play, saw Newcastle side escape with a share of the points.
"Yes I do (think we were lucky). Lucky in the sense that with the amount of options that we had to play out and to create attacks I thought we were extremely poor," Van Egmond said after the match.
"Probably the turning factor was the fact that early on we turned the ball over and they scored off the opportunity of us trying to play out. The reason why they did that was because of our decision making and positioning. That was very disappointing. And their second goal was similar.
"It probably knocked the confidence out of them to look to keep playing out and look to see how they could build up, but that is the game. That is what you have to do, you have to get back on that horse.
"Unfortunately, it didn't pan out that way."
The Jets coach did say that it was pleasing that they managed to get a result despite playing well below their potential.
"From that perspective it was fantastic that we got something out of the game," Van Egmond said.
"In the balance of the game I think we deserved out of it but I just disappointed with the performance but we did show tremendous character to get something out of it."
The match was the first after the shock departure of club captain Jobe Wheelhouse earlier this week and Van Egmond admitted that it could have had an 'unspoken' psychological effect on some of the his players but it didn't really disrupt his plans for the match against Sydney.
"He was in and around (selection). Obviously he played last week but we had Ruben (Zadkovich) coming back and Zenon (Caravella) as well and Josh Brillante, so I can't say 100 percent he would have been in there, but at the end of the day it is irrelevant because he is not here," Van Egmond said.
"It may have had an effect on a few of the boys. But from our position in regards to the team the boys were very, very focused and I am pretty sure Jobe would be the first one to put his hand up to wish all the boys the best and ensure that they make the six.
"It might be a psychological thing that you don't talk about but it could be in the back of their mind and time might be the only thing that cures that.
"Obviously it has been a bit of a bombshell with everyone at the club with Jobe deciding to pack it in straight away.
"I thought personally he would have seen the season out especially being the captain.
"From a leadership position when you lose you captain it is not what you want, definitely not. But it has occurred and you need to recognise that it has happened and move on. It is now a case of other people getting the opportunity and standing up."
The Jets coach conceded that his side lost two good opportunities to defeat teams below them on the ladder in Wellington and Sydney over the last fortnight and that they faced a harder task to get a result from their next match against the Wanderers in Sydney.
"It won't matter who we play next week, we have to improve," he said.
"The character of the team is fantastic but performance-wise we have to get better and there is no better opportunity than going down to west Wanderers at Campbelltown, for their away game."