Jets downed by classy Gold Coast
Some expert finishing has seen Gold Coast United defeat the Newcastle Jets in an entertaining match at Skilled Park.
In-form striker Bruce Djite claimed a hat-trick on Saturday evening as the Newcastle Jets were defeated by a superb Gold Coast United side 5-1 in their Hyundai A-League week 24 clash.
The gates were flung open at Skilled Park in support of the Queensland Premier-s Flood Appeal, and the home fans were given the start they were looking for when livewire left-back Adama Traore fired a 20-yard volley into the top corner within the first ten minutes.
Djite then doubled the home side-s advantage in the 36th minute, when the Qantas Socceroo showed his predatory instincts from a Peter Perchtold corner.
Shane Smeltz was on hand to tap-in United-s third on the hour mark, before Djite capped off a night to remember by bundling home two late goals to round out the scoring.
However, Newcastle showed plenty of fight throughout the contest, and substitute Zhang Shuo netted his first goal for the club midway through the second period. Indeed, if not for some superb goalkeeping by Kiwi international Glen Moss, the likes of Labinot Haliti and Marko Jesic could have added to Newcastle's goal tally.
A string of recent injuries in the squad forced Branko Culina to field an extremely youthful side, with National Youth League players James Virgili and Sam Gallaway being called-up for their first Hyundai A-League starts.
Perhaps the inexperience of the side showed on nine minutes, when United-s defensive midfielder Bas Van Den Brink was able to lob a square ball into Traore-s path. The Ivorian then unleashed a spectacular first-time strike which thundered into the top corner of the net to hand United the early advantage.
Moments later, though, and Haliti nearly restored parity when he glanced his header from a Jesic free-kick goalward. Moss reacted smartly to pull off a wonderful diving save down to his left to deny the Newcastle striker.
But it would be Djite who would add to the scoreline down the other end nine minutes before the half-time interval. The 23-year-old ghosted in at the back post to scramble the ball home after Dino Djulbic headed Perchtold-s corner back across the face of goal.
The result was all but decided when Smeltz finished off some fine work down the right flank by Van Den Brink in the 61st minute, giving Gold Coast a comfortable three-goal cushion for the remaining half hour.
Smeltz had the opportunity to claim his second just minutes later from the penalty spot, but the New Zealander's strike from 12-yards rattled off the post.
Chinese international Shuo then gave the visitors a glimmer of hope when he followed up a fierce Jesic strike that was too hot for Moss to handle in the 75th minute.
The comeback was short-lived, unfortunately, as Djite-s off-the-ball work was rewarded with two further goals in the last ten minutes of the match. It was the Qantas Socceroo-s first Hyundai A-League hat-trick, and rockets him up the goalscoring charts with 8 to his name for the season.
Miron Bleiberg-s men have not lost a game or at Skilled Park since December 1 last year, and their dominance at home continued as they marched on to move to 42 competition points.
The result makes the Jets- impending away matches against Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory all the more important before the team returns home to take on fierce NSW rivals Sydney FC on Sunday, 6 February. To secure your seat for this crucial clash, visit www.proticket.com.au today.
Match Details: Gold Coast United: 1. Glen MOSS (gk), 2. Steve PANTELIDIS (16. Kristian REES 76-), 3. Michael THWAITE, 6. Dino DJULBIC, 8. ANDERSON, 9. Shane SMELTZ (14. Joel PORTER 67-), 11. Bruce DJITE, 13. Bas VAN DEN BRINK, 21. Golgol MEBRAHTU (27. Chris HAROLD 74-), 22. Adama TRAORE, 33. Peter PERCHTOLD
Unused Substitutes: 30. Jerrad TYSON (gk)
Yellow Cards: Steve Pantelidis 21-, Bruce Djite 80-
Red Cards: Nil
Newcastle Jets: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2. Taylor REGAN, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY (c), 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 14. Labinot HALITI (9. Zhang SHUO 67-), 17. Marcello FIORENTINI, 18. Marko JESIC, 23. Ryan GRIFFITHS (31. Jacob PEPPER 82-), 25. Sam GALLAWAY, 26. James VIRGILI (16. Jeremy BROCKIE 67-)
Unused Substitutes: 40. Matt NASH (gk)
Yellow Cards: Tarek Elrich 63-
Red Cards: Nil
Gold Coast United: 5 (Traore 9-, Djite 36-/80-/87-, Smeltz 61-) Newcastle Jets: 1 (Shuo 75-) Crowd: 14, 783 at Skilled Park.