Grit wins it for Jets

Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond said it was his side's character that enabled its thrilling last-gasp 2-1 victory over Beijing Guoan in their Asian Champions League clash at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Wednesday night.

Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond said it was his side's character that enabled its thrilling last-gasp 2-1 victory over Beijing Guoan in their Asian Champions League clash at EnergyAustralia Stadium on Wednesday night.

Substitute striker Sean Rooney snatched the winner for the Jets with a scintillating strike from the edge of the area in the final seconds of injury-time to put Newcastle in the box seat in the battle for second place in Group E.

The Jets sit in second on seven points and will travel to Korea in a fortnight's time knowing a draw against K-League side Ulsan Hyundai (six points) will ensure they progress to the next stage of the prestigious competition in their first ever ACL campaign.

"There is good character in this team," van Egmond said. "They are really starting to bond and gel and we have got a never-say-die attitude."

Newcastle dominated play in the first half but was unable to capitalise on a glut of possession and some promising goal-scoring opportunities in an entertaining opening 45 minutes.

The visitors came out with more purpose in the second half and were rewarded with a determined goal to former Newcastle player Ryan Griffiths in the 69th minute.

Newcastle gambled on an all-out attack for the final 15 minutes and eventually broke through courtesy of a lovely left-footed volley from Sasho Petrovski in the 88th minute before Rooney sealed victory in thrilling fashion in the dying stages of the match.

"We spoke about the fact that we didn't have anyone that stepped up and tried to win the last game against Nagoya when the game was there to be won," van Egmond said.

"Tonight it was even harder circumstances in the fact that we went the goal down and to come back and win the game was just testament to our resolve."

"I am really happy for the boys and I am just really happy about the character that they showed. I think that will put them in really good stead for the rest of this ACL campaign and also for the upcoming A-League."

The Jets coach heaped praise on the performances of Petrovski and big defender Ljubo Milicevic, who led a solid defence and also got forward in attack to provide the crucial assists that led to Newcastle's two goals.

He also said he was overjoyed with the performance of super-sub Rooney, who was given his chance when he replaced Matt Thompson in the 76th minute and rewarded the coach's decision by scoring the match-winning goal.

"I am really happy for him, he is a likeable kid," van Egmond said of Rooney. "He has been working really hard for us."

"He is an out-and-out goal-scorer. We have been trying to develop him to be able to play in a few different positions to give him some flexibility in that front third."

"But he has always had a knack of scoring goals even from a young age, so I am overjoyed for him."