Newcastle Jets failed to convert a lopsided 27-4 advantage in shots in a frustrating scoreless A-League draw with Western United.
Just a day after announcing the return of striker Roy O'Donovan, the Jets' scoring profligacy were highlighted with another maddening display on Saturday. Injured import Wes Hoolahan is also closing in on his league debut, and his injection alongside with O'Donovan can't come quickly enough for Jets fans.
Six of Newcastle's shots on goal -- the 27 is the most by any team in any A-League game this season -- were on target at McDonald Jones Stadium. But none of them found the back of the net.
The draw for United, who were barely in the contest in hot and humid conditions, means Mark Rudan's side can finish as high as fifth by the end of the round. The Jets, who had 71% of the territory in a dominant afternoon, remain rooted to the bottom of the ladder.
"Everyone is trying so hard to be the person that scores that they almost get in each other's way a little bit it looks like," interim coach Craig Deans said. "Desperation and everything is there. It's composure and quality at key moments.
"You can't fault the effort or endeavour of the players. You see them all again, it feels like we lost to be honest."
There were fears kick-off would've been delayed when temperatures approached 40C, but players were instead offered two drinks breaks in either half. Playing without injured captain Alessandro Diamanti, Western United should have taken the lead when Besart Berisha was played through in the seventh minute.
In what proved the visitors' best, and only, chance of the half, the league's most prolific scorer couldn't get the ball out from his feet. From there it was all Newcastle. Bobby Burns, Abdiel Arroyo and Nikolai Topor-Stanley had good sights at goal but failed to seriously test goalkeeper Filip Kurto.
With every opportunity the Jets let slip by -- Dimitri Petratos also skied a free kick high and wide -- the more their frustration grew. By half-time, Newcastle had 12 shots to none, 19 crosses to seven, and 23 balls into the penalty box compared with seven by their counterparts. Petratos was guilty of wasting two more point-blank chances after the break -- including one inside the six-hard box.
Kurto also proved a massive hurdle, denying Ben Kantarovski and Jason Hoffman one-on-one in the space of three minutes.
"If you look at the players and who we started with, I was really proud of them," United coach Mark Rudan said. "You could call it somewhat fortunate with Dimi's miss and a couple of big saves from our goalkeeper. But all things being considered, very proud of the boys."