NEWCASTLE Jets and Gold Coast United played out an enthralling 2-2 draw in their National Youth League match at Adamstown Oval.
The home side dominated the match in the first half with Mirjan Pavlovic giving the Jets the lead in the 14th minute before Gold Coast were reduced to 10 men when goalkeeper Timothy Anderson was red-carded for handling the ball outside his area.
But Gold Coast put in an inspired effort in the second half to draw level via Adama Traore. Newcastle regained the lead against the run of play through Brodie Mooy in the 70th minute but the visitors showed plenty of grit to equalise five minutes from time with an opportunist goal to Benjamin Wearing.
The result sees Gold Coast draw level with Central Coast Mariners at the top of the ladder while the Jets remain in seventh spot with the rest of the round to play.
The opening goal came in the 14th minute after a period of sustained pressure from the Jets. Pavlovic drifted out to the right wing before sending in a dangerous cross that Anderson deflected onto the crossbar before the ball rebounded off the keeper's shoulder and into the net.
The Jets went close to doubling their lead in the 20th minute when Jesse Pinto fired a pinpoint cross to the box where midfielder Scott Balderson out-leapt the defence to head narrowly wide of the goal from 10 yards out.
Gold Coast forced their way back into the match with some good play from Golgol Mebrathu and Traore down the left wing set up chances for Chris Harold and Koh Satake but determined defence from the Jets managed to keep the visitors at bay.
Down the other end clever work between Pavlovic and Jason Naidovski saw Pavlovic head just over the crossbar to leave the score at 1-0 after 35 minutes.
The game took a huge deviation just before half-time when Anderson was shown a red card after Jets midfielder Mooy was put clear on goal.
Anderson came out of his area to shutdown the attack but handballed as Mooy attempt to loft him.
Scott Higgins was brought on in goal with Mebrathu the unlucky player to be substituted. The resulting free kick was defended by the Gold Coast wall and the teams headed to the break with the home side holding a 1-0 lead and a man advantage.
Gold Coast fought back to level against the odds just three minutes after half-time when Traore produced a piece of individual brilliance.
The hard-working leftback took the ball down the left wing before cutting inside the defence and shooting a lovely low shot inside the far post.
Despite being a man down Gold Coast continued to dominate play with James Brown and substitute Mitchell Bevan getting within striking distance only to fire their shots wide of the target.
The Jets wrestled back control of the match with a goal against the run of play in the 70th minute. Newcastle defender Umut Tokdogan launched a pin-point long ball for Fabian Iacovelli, who squared to Mooy on the edge of the area.
The attacking midfielder fired a low shot that found its way into the corner of the net despite a valiant diving save from Higgins.
Gold Coast still showed plenty of fight and should have equalised in the 78th minute but Brazilian import Milson Dos Santos somehow missed an open goal from just six yards out.
The visitors were eventually rewarded for endeavor five minutes from full-time when Wearing managed to get in behind the Jets defence following Brown's free-kick from the 35 yards out.
The big defender showed plenty of poise to calmly slot home to ensure the points were shared.