The Newcastle Jets were defeated 3-1 by Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Friday night.
The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets were defeated 3-1 by Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park on Friday night.
Searching for their first win in 19 matches, the Heart started strongly testing Jets shot-stopper Mark Birighitti twice inside the first 10 minutes of the contest.
Birighitti pulled-off a stunning one-handed save to keep out Ian Ramsay-s powerful left-footed drive from the edge of the penalty area in the sixth minute, before tipping Harry Kewell-s shot over the crossbar less than a minute later.
The Jets- first opportunity of the match came in the 15th minute, with Ruben Zadkovich pouncing on a mistake by the Heart before carrying the ball forward and unleashing a shot from the top of the box that was blocked by a sliding Partick Gerhardt.
While the home side had the better of the contest throughout the majority of the first half, there was a lack of clear-cut chances created by either the Heart or the Jets.
With neither side looking likely to score from open play, it took a set-piece in the 36th minute of the contest to break the deadlock.
Craig Goodwin's corner to the back post picked out an unmarked Taylor Regan who did well to keep his header down before seeing it deflect off the post and into the back of the net.
The opening goal of the match was followed by a flurry of chances for both teams before the half-time interval.
In the 39th minute, Ramsay found Mate Dugandzic in space at the top of the box, only for the former Melbourne Victory man to drag his shot across the face of goal.
A short time later, Ben Kantarovski played a neat ball into the feat of Emile Heskey, who smartly laid the ball off to Zadkovich.
However, the Newcastle skipper could only direct his left-footed shot into the midriff of Heart goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.
After coming on as an early substitute for an injured David Williams, Michael Mifsud wasted no time getting involved, drilling a powerful shot from the top of the box that was met by two strong hands by Birighitti as he parried the ball away.
The home side was back on level terms in the 44th minute of the contest, with Kewell heading the ball down to Ramsay on the edge of the box.
The winger-s first time volley took a big deflection of Jets defender Kew Jaliens past a stranded Birighitti and into the back of the net.
Just a minute later, the Heart took the lead with Aziz Behich-s cross from the left flank finding Dugandzic in space, with the Heart forward making no mistake with his header to give the home side a 2-1 lead at the break.
The Jets made a double substitution at the break, introducing new signing Nick Ward and James Brown to the fray in an effort to spark them into action.
Brown didn-t take long to start exerting his influence on the match, hitting a powerful low drive from outside the box in the 54th minute that forced Redmayne to make a low save.
Four minutes later, Brown forced Redmayne into action again after Heskey held the ball up on the edge of the box, before laying it off to the former Gold Coast United man who hit his shot straight at Redmayne.
On the hour mark, Dugandzic was denied by another great save from Birighitti following a Jets defensive error.
There was little Birighitti could do in the 68th minute however, with Ramsay playing an early ball through to Dudganzic, who calmly slotted it past the Jets shot-stopper in a one-on-one situation.
Dudganzic almost had his hat-trick just three minutes later, but was denied by a sharp reflex save by the feet of Birighitti.
The Jets went close to getting a goal back in the 76th minute, with Brown coming inside from the left before forcing Redmanye to fumble a low save.
From the ensuing scramble in the box, the ball found it-s way to Ward, but his shot from the edge of the area was easily covered by Redmayne.
Kewell looked to extend the Hearts advantage two minutes later, cutting in from the right and forcing Birighitti to react sharply and make a smart save.
Despite the Jets- best efforts to get a goal back in the dying stages of the contest, the Heart would not relent and secured a 3-1 victory.
Melbourne Heart 3 (Ramsay 44-, Dudganzic 45- 68-) Newcastle Jets 1 (Regan 36-)