Ten man Jets secure valiant Victory

A spirited ten-man Newcastle Jets outfit has produced a stunning 3-2 win over Melbourne Victory in round 22 of the Hyundai A-League played at EnergyAustralia Stadium this evening.

A spirited ten-man Newcastle Jets outfit has produced a stunning 3-2 win over Melbourne Victory in round 22 of the Hyundai A-League played at EnergyAustralia Stadium this evening.

Goals to skipper Matt Thompson, English striker Michael Bridges and tireless attacker Labinot Haliti secured the three competition points for the home side despite Kevin Muscat converting a 35th minute penalty and Costa Rican International Carlos Hernandez netting in stoppage time to ensure a nervous finish for the hosts.

Indeed, the Jets were made to play nearly an hour of the match a man down following the send off of 17-year-old defender Ben Kantarovski for his second bookable offence.

Kantarovski-s dismissal came less than ten minutes after Thompson had given the Jets the lead.

On the end of some fine interplay between Adam D-Apuzzo, Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Bridges, Thompson finished clinically under the advancing Mitchell Langerak to hand Newcastle a dream start on 26 minutes.

Eight minutes later Muscat lofted a long ball into the path of Robbie Kruse who made his way into the box. Kantarovski was adjudged to have held the young attacker and referee Matthew Breeze pointed to the spot.

Making no mistake from 12-yards, Muscat restored parity by expertly sending Jets custodian Neil Young the wrong way, placing the ball to the ‘keeper-s left.

With Melbourne now enjoying the numerical advantage Branko Culina manipulated his sides- formation to a 4-4-1 with Bridges playing the lone role upfront, and Haliti and Jin-Hyung Song wide on either side. And, it was a silky interchange between Tarek Elrich and Song wide on the right that would help craft the Jets a surprise lead before the break.

Marauding forward from his role at right fullback, Elrich played a neat one-two with Song before sending an inch perfect ball into the box. With all the nous that a decade long career in Europe affords a player, Bridges ghosted in behind three Victory defenders at the far post to get enough on the ball to send the Jets 2-1 up heading into the break.

Culina opted to continue attacking the Melbourne backline after halftime. However, the decision to look to extend the Jets- advantage paid dividends little more than ten minutes after the interval.

With Song craftily making his way to the edge of the area courtesy of a skilful dribble, the Korean then managed to chip a delightful ball over the Melbourne defence. Haliti timed his run to perfection, subsequently launching an accurate volley on the turn past the hapless Langerak in the Victory goal.

Even with a two goal buffer Newcastle maintained their attacking invention, looking to the likes of substitutes Sean Rooney and Ali Abbas to help hit on the break.

And while Hernandez did manage to get a goal back for the visitors with a curling right foot effort past Young a minute into time added on, the Jets were rarely threatened by the Victory as each Newcastle player fought to help achieve one of the most stoic successes this season.

Culina was understandably delighted with the character his side showed amidst the heat of such an intense battle.

“It was terrific” he said after the game. “It was an outstanding performance by an outstanding team, who showed today that if they really want something there-s nothing stopping them.”

“We said at halftime that if we can get the win today, under the conditions and the circumstances, it will be one of the greatest achievements of our club, certainly this year anyway.”

“It-s not often that you score twice with ten men against if not the best team in the competition, certainly one of the best two,” Culina explained.

Match Details: Newcastle Jets: 20. Neil YOUNG (gk), 3. Adam D-APUZZO, 4. Nikolai TOPOR-STANLEY, 5. Ljubo MILICEVIC, 6. Ben KANTAROVSKI 7. Jin-Hyung SONG, 8. Matt THOMPSON (c), 11. Tarek ELRICH, 12. Jobe WHEELHOUSE, 14. Michael BRIDGES (15. Sean ROONEY 46-), 25. Labinot HALITI (26. Ali ABBAS 67-)

Unused substitutes: 1. Ben KENNEDY (gk), 9. Sasho PETROVSKI

Yellow cards: Kantarovski 22-/34-, Bridges 37-, Haliti 56-

Red cards: Kantarovski 34-

Melbourne Victory: 1. Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 2. Kevin MUSCAT (c), 6. Leigh BROXHAM (15. Tom PONDELJAK 63-), 7. Matthew KEMP (3. Mate DUGANDZIC 81-), 10. Archie THOMPSON, 12. Rodrigo VARGAS, 16. Carlos HERNANDEZ, 21. Robbie KRUSE, 22. Nick WARD, 23. Adrian LEIJER, 26. Marvin ANGULO (8. Grant BREBNER 46-)

Unused substitutes: 20. Glen MOSS (GK)

Yellow cards: Muscat 19-, Leijer 66-

Red cards: Nil

Newcastle Jets: 3 (Thompson 26-, Bridges 45, Haliti 56-) Melbourne Victory: 2 (Muscat 35- (pen), Hernandez 90+1-) Referee: Matthew Breeze Crowd: 6,979