A hat-trick from Brandon Lundy and a double from Marko Jesic eased Newcastle Jets to a 5-2 win over the AIS in Canberra.
A hat-trick from second-half substitute Brandon Lundy and a double from over-age player Marko Jesic eased Newcastle Jets to a 5-2 win over the AIS in Canberra.
Replacement Lundy was in clinical form in his 45 minutes on the park, showcasing his finishing prowess to claim the match ball as the Jets deservedly took home the three points.
Newcastle almost took the lead after only 15 seconds.
AIS goalkeeper Lucas Spinella was put under pressure from a poor back pass and his weak clearance was returned into the area by Jesic for Kale Bradbury, who seemed certain to score, only to be denied by a sprawling save from the keeper.
The reprieve was short-lived , however, as the Jets struck in their next attack.
A beautifully flighted ball over the top exposed the flat AIS back four allowing Jesic time to bring the ball down and pick his spot, finishing low past Spinella and in off the far post, for the opening goal after just 76 seconds.
And it could have been two in the fifth minute as the Jets again picked a hole through the AIS defence allowing Bobby Russell in on goal but his effort, which beat Spinella, cannoned back off the post and away to safety.
Mitch Cooper was the next to waste a glorious chance for the visitors, blazing over from 12 metres from Bradbury's square pass.
After weathering the initial onslaught, which included an effort from Mitchell Oxborrow which fizzed just over the bar in the 22nd minute, the AIS began to settle and Steve Kuzmanovski stung the palms of Jets keeper Brad McKenzie with an angled drive.
The tricky winger went even closer moments later, getting on the end of a superb Alexander Gersbach cross with a downward header that brushed the side-netting.
The Jets failed to heed the warning and, in the 37th minute, the AIS levelled.
Kuzmanovski was the architect, confusing a brace of defenders with a series of step-overs, before squaring to Marc Marino whose excellent first touch created the space for him to register his second goal in two matches.
Almost immediately Newcastle should have restored their lead as Russell hit the post after latching onto a poor clearance from Spinella while Bradbury hammered a shot against the bar as the AIS goal led a charmed life as half-time loomed.
Newcastle introduced Lundy from the bench at half-time and, incredibly, the substitute put his team back in front 24 seconds after the re-start with his first touch.
Lundy was left free on the left flank to collect a through ball and hit a shot that beat Spinella on the near post from an acute angle.
In a free-flowing match it was the AIS turn to rue their luck in the 57th minute as Anthony Kalik saw his rasping effort from 25m crash off the post with McKenzie a virtual spectator as the home team pressed for an equaliser.
But the Jets went straight down the other end to increase their advantage. Lundy was again the man of the moment receiving a pass and cutting inside his marker to curl an exquisite shot into the far top corner for a superb goal.
If that finish was good the fourth, netted by Jesic with 17 minutes remaining, was even better.
The prolific forward got in behind the covering AIS defenders and lifted a sublime first-time lob over the head of substitute AIS goalkeeper Andre Jannese for his second of the match.
A fifth seemed inevitable though and it duly arrived with five minutes left.
The AIS turned over possession in midfield and a through ball released Lundy with the substitute calmly picking his spot to lash in his third, completing a well-taken hat-trick and sealing a convincing Jets performance.
The home team had the final word in stoppage time as Josh Barresi rounded McKenzie and slotted home, via the post and a rebound off his knee.
AIS 2 (Marc Marino 37-, Joshua Barresi 90+2-) Newcastle Jets 5 (Marko Jesic 2-, 73-, Brandon Lundy 46-, 57-, 85-)
AIS: 30. Lucas Spinella (20. Andre Jannese 69-), 5. Matthew Schmidt, 6. Matthew Ntoumenopoulos (2. Darcy Madden 57-), 7. Steve Kuzmanovski, 8. Joshua Barresi (17. Anthony Kalik 27-), 11. Marc Marino, 12. Marc Ochieng, 16. Jordan Pudler, 18. Alexander Gersbach (9. Todd Norris 56-), 21. George Timotheou (8. Joshua Barresi 65-), 23. Rocco Pizzata Newcastle Jets: 1. Brad McKenzie, 2. Michael Finlayson, 3. Mason Campbell (13. Nicholas Pepper 59-), 4. Nicholas Cowburn, 5. Luke Remington (14. Reece Papadimitrios 53-), 6. Mitchell Oxborrow, 7. Bobby Russell, 8. Jacob Pepper, 9. Kale Bradbury, 10. Marko Jesic, 11. Mitch Cooper (12. Brandon Lundy 46-) Yellow Cards: 5. Luke Remington, 10. Marko Jesic (Newcastle Jets)