It was a grand final rematch six months in the making, and it promised to be one of the games of the round.
Unfortunately for the Jets, a stunning opening half hour full of chances and silky passing came to nothing as a second-half Terry Antonis goal condemned Newcastle to a 1-0 defeat.
It’s a disappointing result but an extremely encouraging performance from the Jets, who will now turn their attention to Sydney next Saturday night.
A litany of chances in the opening stanza didn’t quite lead to a goal, but it wasn’t through a lack of trying.
Newcastle started with a flourish of chances, notably in the 11th minute when some wonderful link-up play between Lachie Jackson, Jair, and Ronnie Vargas saw the latter hit the crossbar.
It was the home side who then took control of the match, with the likes of Jair and Ronnie Vargas looking unstoppable in the front third.
Jason Hoffman had a good chance as the half drew to a close but Thomas Deng proved a brick wall that Hoffman couldn’t quite work his way past.
Victory started things after the break on the front foot and had the ball in the back of the net through Kosta Barbarouses in the 48th minute, but it was called back for offside.
The game evened out as the second half wore on, and the Jets enjoyed a positive period midway through the 45. A Lawrence Thomas miscue on the hour mark nearly ended up in the back of his own net, while Dimi Petratos sent a volley from the top of the box narrowly over minutes later.
One highlight of this solid period for the Jets was the performance of Lachlan Jackson, who enjoyed what Ernie Merrick described as the best he’s seen him.
In the 71st minute, Terry Antonis found himself in a sliver of space at the top of the Newcastle box. The Victory man let a shot off, which flew past an outstretched Glen Moss and into the back of the net to give Victory the lead.
The Jets had a few good chances as the match edged to a close – an 84th minute Dimi Petratos free-kick which was collected by Thomas and a final minute corner – but weren’t able to capitalise.
Newcastle Jets 0 def. by Melbourne Victory 1 (Antonis 71’)
Saturday 3 November, 7:50pm at McDonald Jones Stadium