Gold Coast prove too good

Gold Coast United remain in the hunt for a coveted top-two finish on the Hyundai A-League ladder after a dominant 5-1 win over the Newcastle Jets in front of a record crowd at Skilled Park on Saturday night.

Gold Coast United remain in the hunt for a coveted top-two finish on the Hyundai A-League ladder after a dominant 5-1 win over the Newcastle Jets in front of a record crowd at Skilled Park on Saturday night.

The hosts showed no mercy on an undermanned Jets' outfit and secured the victory thanks to a hat-trick from in-form striker Bruce Djite and a goal each from electric Ivorian Adama Traore and Kiwi Shane Smeltz, delighting the 14,738 in attendance for Gold Coast owner Clive Palmer's free entry flood relief fundraiser - a club record.

Miron Bleiberg made good on his promise to attack Newcastle from the first whistle, fielding a three-pronged attack featuring Djite, youngster Golgol Mebrahtu and Smeltz, who shook off a calf complaint to take his place in the starting eleven.

The Jets on the other hand were depleted, missing a host of first-teamers including Kasey Wehrman, Ruben Zadkovic and Ali Abbas and were forced to field National Youth league players Samuel Gallaway and James Virgili to fill out the squad.

And it took only nine minutes for Gallaway's debut to be ruined, bamboozled by a clever piece of skill from Mebrahtu who escaped the left-back's marking at the corner and broke along the byline to fire in a cross.

Nikolai Topor-Stanley was there for the clearance but it only got as far as Bas van den Brink, showing great vision to lob the ball over to the other side of the box and into the path of Traore, who smashed a fierce first-time volley into the corner of the net from 20 yards for the first goal of the evening.

Newcastle almost equalised just five minutes later from a Labinot Haliti header but United gloveman Glen Moss was there to deny him with a top-drawer reaction save.

Jets custodian Ben Kennedy could produce no such heroics in the 36th minute after a corner sent deep by Gold Coast's new import Peter Perchtold was met by stopper Dino Djulbic, who nodded it back across the area prompting Djite to throw himself at the ball to tumble it over the line.

In the 61st minute they made it 3-0 through Smeltz, who sidefooted a van den Brink cutback from the byline for his second goal since returning to Robina after a failed stint in Turkey.

Seconds later, he had a golden chance to turn it into a brace when referee Jarred Gillett pointed to the spot after Tarek Elrich pulled Traore down in the danger area, but the Kiwi goal machine was uncharacteristically off target and was denied by the right post.

The Jets pegged one back in the 75th minute after Jobe Wheelhouse's point-blank shot was blocked by Moss but substitute Zhang Shuo was hot on the case, firing home the scraps for his first ever Hyundai A-League goal in his first appearance in a Jets' shirt since October.

The scoring wasn't over yet, with Djite's second coming after he latched onto a good cross from Chris Harold and though he almost made a meal of it, he slipped the ball past Kennedy to restore his side's three-goal lead.

Marko Jesic almost got in on the action for Newcastle moments later but was denied by the linesman, called offside despite slotting home the rebound from Wheelhouse's long-range shot that cannoned off the upright.

But Djite wasn't satisfied either, sealing his hat-trick in the dying stages with an opportunistic strike, profiting from another scramble in the penalty area and sparking wild celebrations on the bench and in the stands, with the bumper crowd at Skilled Park given every reason to return to the ground after a quality performance from Miron Bleiberg's men.

Gold Coast United 5 (Traore 9, Djite 36, 80, 87, Smeltz 61) Newcastle Jets 1 (Shuo 75)