JETS coach Gary van Egmond was left ruing missed chances in the 2-1 loss to Brisbane Roar that leaves Newcastle walking a finals tightrope in a do-or-die clash with Sydney FC next week.
The Jets started well but spurned early chances to Jeremy Brockie and Ali Abbas before Roar pinched the lead and momentum of the game with a goal to Besart Berisha in the 14th minute.
Newcastle then were lucky not to be three down as Roar clicked up a gear but hit the woodwork twice before the Jets equalised just before half-time via an Abbas freekick.
Roar started the second half better but saw a 54th minute penalty saved by Jets goalkeeper Ben Kennedy.
That gave the home side some momentum and a couple of great saves from Brisbane custodian Michael Theoklitos kept the visitors in the game.
Roar sealed victory when Mitch Nichols converted from the spot in the 81st minute after Erik Paartalu had been brought down in the area by Newcastle defender Tiago Calvano, who had also given away an earlier saved penalty.
"We had a couple of real good opportunities early on and if you don't take them, it comes back to bite you and as we have seen it definitely did tonight," van Egmond said.
"Probably in the last two games (Gold coast and Brisbane) we would have looked at picking up a minimum of four points and we picked up one – we had the opportunity but unfortunately we didn't grab it.
"We knew we rode our luck a couple of times there but we were very positive and ready to go out in the second half and what we needed to do and to start with the similar intensity to we had at the beginning of the game and we knew that the longer the game would go they would tire as well.
"Being at home we would be buoyed by the crowd we were very happy with the subs that we had on the bench and we knew that we would get impact from them but it just wasn't to be."
Van Egmond said his team played well in patches but they had lost control of the match, particularly between the two scoring shots in the first half and at the opening of the second half.
But once Kennedy had saved the first penalty and the Jets had regained momentum he thought his side might get a result out the match.
"The effort was there and the actual way we are looking at trying to play at certain stages was there but again we have to get more consistent with it," he said.
"Once you give a team like Brisbane a chance to get some rhythm and to play at their tempo then you start chasing and you win the ball back and they are getting a dozen passes consecutively and you are only getting two or three and then you are kicking things long it is going to be hard to repel.
"You can never count out Brisbane and they are extremely dangerous on the counter and they are also great at fathoming out opportunities in the opposition half.
"They have the players to hurt and that is why we need to pick up that second ball – if we don't score or if the ball doesn't go dead we need to be able to switch on to diffuse situations that they can create."
The Jets coach said he thought the two penalties given away by defender Tiago Calvano could have gone either way but he could understand why they were given.
"The first one was a bit difficult to see it was 50-50 it was a little bit clumsy," he said.
"The second one the ball has actually gone to the keeper and I don't know how much chance the player would have had to get to the ball, but once again he has dived in.
"He has been very reckless so you can understand the referee's decision. But that is football and we should not have to rely on those 50-50 calls."
The loss to Brisbane and Sydney's 2-2 draw with Melbourne Heart means the Jets must now travel to Sydney Football Stadium and force a result. With a superior goal advantage Newcastle can either get a win or a draw to assure themselves of a finals berth.
Van Egmond added: "At the end of the day it is going to be the case that we are going to need a point or they need to get a point.
"We know that next week it will come down to that game. We need to regroup and get ourselves ready for it."