The Newcastle Jets were defeated 2-1 by Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Sunday night following two late goals from the home side.
The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets were defeated 2-1 by Perth Glory at nib Stadium on Sunday night.
The Jets had the first clear-cut opportunity of the match in the ninth minute, with leading goal scorer Adam Taggart pouncing on a mistake from Perth goalkeeper Jack Duncan.
After picking up the loose ball, Taggart turned and struck a shot from a tight angle with his left boot, only to hit the side netting with the goalmouth empty.
Less than a minute later, Joel Griffiths tried his luck from a set-piece 30 metres out from goal, but his free-kick flashed past the face of the goal with Duncan scrambling.
A short time later, Perth had their first sight at goal, with Nebojsa Marinkovic hitting a shot on the turn that brought a good save from Jets shot-stopper Ben Kennedy.
Kennedy was called into action again in the 25th when Jamie McLaren found his way in behind Newcastle-s defence, only to strike his shot on the half-volley straight at the Jets goalkeeper.
Josh Risdon was the next Glory player to try his luck, curling a shot from outside the penalty box, but again Kennedy was up to the task.
Despite Perth enjoying the lion-s share of possession, it was the Jets who had the best chance of the opening half in the 41st minute of the contest.
Emile Heskey played a clever first-time ball which sent Taggart clear through on goal, however Duncan denied Taggart his 14th goal of the season with a brilliant reflex save with his foot ensuring the two sides went into the halftime interval on level terms.
The Jets survived a close shave less than a minute after the restart of play, with Marinkovic-s misdirected cross forcing Kennedy to make a sharp save at his near post.
Heskey rose well to meet Taggart-s cross to the back post in the 51st minute, but the former England international was unable to get enough power behind his header to beat Duncan.
Heskey was heavily involved again in the 62nd minute helping the Jets to fashion the opening goal of the contest.
The former Liverpool striker did a superb job of holding the ball up on the edge of the penalty area before picking out David Carney-s overlapping run on the left flank.
Carney delivered a delightful first-time cross to the bak post with pin-point accuracy that allowed Taggart to slide in and blast the ball into the roof of the net on the half valley, giving the Jets a 1-0 lead.
Perth were almost back on level terms 10 minutes later, with Davydas Sernas swinging in a dangerous free-kick from the right flank.
The ball looked destined to nestle in the bottom corner of the net, but for a crucial intervention from the outstretched palm of Kennedy, which deflected the ball onto the post and away from danger.
Kennedy was left stranded in the 78th minute when Brandon O-Neill unleashed a vicious swerving shot from 30 metres out, but luckily for the Jets goalkeeper the ball skipped inches wide of the post.
The Glory were back on level terms six minutes later, with Marinkovic bending a free-kick from 20 metres out over the wall and into the top corner of the net, giving Kennedy no chance.
Less than 60 seconds after equalising, Perth hit the front through Chris Harold.
Michael Thwaite played a neat ball down the line to Sidnei Sciola who swung in a cross with his left boot that was met by a powerful header from Harold to give Perth a 2-1 advantage.
Despite their best efforts, the shell-shocked Jets were unable to find a way past the Glory defence in the dying minutes and the home side secured all three points.
Perth Glory 2 (Marinkovic 84-, Harold 85-) Newcastle Jets 1 (Taggart 62-)