NEWCASTLE Jets coach Gary van Egmond hit back at Adelaide United counterpart Josep Gombau's accusations of foul play, insisting both sides were physical and guilty of 'poor challenges' during the Reds' heated 1-0 win at Coopers Stadium on Sunday.
During one half-hour stretch either side of half-time at Hindmarsh, six yellow cards were handed out, but van Egmond believed two teams were tangoing equally hard.
The Jets coach was also quick to remind Adelaide that the last time the two sides met, in round 5, the only player red-carded was Reds defender Nigel Boogaard.
"He (Gombau) is entitled to his opinion," van Egmond said. "I think there were some poor challenges from both sides.
"The one that (Marcelo) Carrusca did on Ruben (Zadkovich) - although he (Zadkovich) didn't roll around 15 times - was a poor challenge.
"I think it's fair to say both sides were fairly physical out there. If I remember rightly, the last time we played, it was one of the Adelaide players that got sent off, not one of ours.
"It's a physical game - it's the nature of the sport."
Van Egmond was more disappointed with his side's inability to capitalise in the front third as several promising forward forays were routinely brought undone on the chain's final link, particularly when the Jets stole the momentum for patches of the second half.
"In the first half Adelaide seemed to control more of the game," van Egmond said.
"In the second half they tried to protect their lead a little bit more and we started take more of the ascendancy.
"We didn't do a great deal with it in the final third - we didn't really create what I would say were clear-cut chances.
"We missed the moment and then we got countered.
"We've got more work to do in that front third, for sure."
Newcastle's loss sees them hanging precariously to fourth spot on the ladder, just a week after stunning the ladder-leading Brisbane Roar 2-0.
The unpredictable Jets have downed the Roar twice this season and have knocked off Melbourne Victory in their own backyard, yet have also had to settle for draws with the likes of Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix
Van Egmond is keen to iron out the side's week-to-week inconsistency.
"That is also an issue for us," he said.
"We've gone away to Victory and beaten them, (and) we've been to Brisbane and beaten them.
"As you know, they're probably second and third in terms of teams that are most likely in this competition.
"Ostensibly, it's a fairly young squad and they're still trying to find a way of getting more consistency week in week out.
"That comes from experience."