Sunday, 1 December 2013 10:38 AM
Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond conceded it would take some time before the Jets bedded down the new Emile Heskey-Adam Taggart combination up front after the pair’s off night in the 2-0 loss to Sydney FC on Saturday.
Heskey’s return from injury forced Taggart, who had scored six goals in three games leading into the trip to Sydney, to play a more subdued role as a half midfielder, half striker.
It didn’t really work, with Taggart unable to get into the game and Heskey too often the target of meaningless long balls as Newcastle dropped points for the first time in four weeks.
“There were moments there where the combination looked good but it’s definitely a work in progress, that type of combination,” Van Egmond said.
“The issue that we get is it’s such an easy thing to do, to knock in the long ball, because nine times out of 10 he (Heskey) wins that ball in the air.
“But if you do anything over and over from a long ball, which is not really a safe ball where you’re going to keep possession, there’s also an opportunity of losing that ball.
“We have to get better in the way in which utilise Emile. If you keep overplaying that (long) ball, it becomes easier to pick the second ball up.
“It’s (the Heskey-Taggart combination) a little different and we’ll have a look at that and decide what to do.”
Despite their problems up front, the Jets did create enough to deserve to steal a point from the match.
Their most glaring miss of the night came after 57 minutes when Nathan Burns blazed over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Three minutes later Sydney went up the other end and put the nail in the coffin with a second goal through replacement Ranko Despotovic.
“We had enough chances to win the game,” Van Egmond lamented.
“There were decent parts when we played quite well and there were other times where I thought Sydney had the ascendency.
“There is still plenty of work for us to get better.”