Andy Keogh netted in his seventh straight match as Perth Glory recorded a scrappy 2-1 win over a spirited Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium on Saturday night.
Krisztián Vadócz gave the visitors the lead midway through the second half before Keogh doubled the visitors’ advantage from the penalty spot after Nigel Boogaard was shown red for a challenge on the striker.
Dino Djulbic was shown his marching orders in stoppage time after bringing down Ryan Kitto inside the area, with Mateo Poljak netting a consolation strike for the hosts.
0-1 (Krisztián Vadócz 72’) – A wicked corner from Nebojsa Marinkovic caused all sorts of problems for the Jets defence with the ball ricocheting off a number of bodies inside the area. The ball eventually fell to Hungarian midfielder Krisztián Vadócz who smashed the ball home from close range.
0-2 (Andy Keogh 88’) - Nigel Boogaard was adjudged to have brought down Andy Keogh inside the area, with the referee showing the Jets skipper a straight red card. Keogh stepped up to the spot and calmly slotted the ball past the wrong footed Mark Birighitti.
1-2 (Mateo Poljak 90+2) - The Jets midfielder converted from the spot after Dino Djulbic was shown red for pulling back Ryan Kitto.
The Jets started brightly and had a glorious chance to take the lead in just the 10th minute. Morten Nordstrand played a beautiful ball in behind for Mitch Cooper who controlled the ball well before firing a tame effort straight into the grateful arms of Glory keeper Ante Covic.
Mark Birighitti has been arguably the Jets best player this season and he again came to his side’s rescue with two crucial saves in the opening stanza. He denied a curling effort from Diego Castro in the 37th minute before producing an absolute blinding save to stop a Richard Garcia volley just prior to the break. Garcia smashed a volley from point blank range which appeared certain to find the net but Birighitti showed superb reflexes to keep the Jets on level terms.
The Jets should have levelled the scores with just over 10 minutes remaining through Leonardo, with the Brazilian inexplicably miskicking a loose ball with the goal gaping.. The midfielder’s error was compounded with Morten Nordstrand producing an air swing on the rebound, with Ante Covic a relieved man after his poor clearance put Glory under the pump.
THE FINAL WORD
Victory’s win on Friday night ended the Jets’ slim finals hopes but Scott Miller’s men showed plenty of character against a red-hot Glory outfit.
Morten Norstrand showed his class with another impressive performance and could be an important player for the club next season should he be re-signed.
A sixth straight season without the finals for the Jets but an encouraging end to the campaign will give Newcastle fans hope of greener pastures.
Perth continue their resurgence and remarkably have pushed themselves into Premiers Plate calculations.
Kenny Lowe would not have been happy with his side’s performance overall but the three points gives Perth their ninth win in their past 10 matches.
Andy Keogh equaled a national league record after netting in seven straight matches, with the Irishman a chance to set a new mark against Melbourne City next weekend.
Newcastle Jets: Birighitti (gk), Cowburn, Boogaard (c), Hoffman, Kantarovski, Poljak, Leonardo, Ugarkovic, Kitto, Cooper (Brennan 64’), Nordstrand
Perth Glory: Covic (gk), Lowry, Grant, Williams (Djulbic 45’), Warren, Garcia (c) (Marinkovic 60’), Sandor, Harold, Vadócz, Keogh, Castro
Scorers: Vadócz 72, Keogh 88’, Poljak 90+2
Red cards: Boogaard 87’, Djulbic 90+2
Yellow cards: Williams 31’, Lowry 54’, Hoffman 62’, Kantarovski 64’
Conditions: 25C, fine