A stirring second half comeback has earned Newcastle Jets a remarkable come-from-behind 3-2 win over Melbourne City FC at AAMI Park on Friday night.
City appeared to be cruising after an early strike from Aaron Mooy and a superb team goal from Stefan Mauk gave the hosts a comfortable 2-0 advantage heading into the break.
But a header from Ben Kantarovski and a brace from Serbian striker Milos Trifunovic secured the Jets a rare win in Melbourne and sent Scott Miller’s side to the top of the Hyundai A-League.
WHAT THEY SAID
“It was quite a good feeling (to score) and hopefully I can get some more the rest of the season. It’s a good result by the boys, I think we fought hard to get back in the game and slowly fought our way into the lead.” - Newcastle Jets’ Ben Kantarovski
“I think lapses of concentration let us down. The first one was an unmarked header, same with the third one. The penalty I know it hits his hand but it’s ball to hand it’s not hand to ball. It’s just one of those things we need to improve.” - Melbourne City’s Patrick Kisnorbo
1-0 (Aaron Mooy 12’) - The Socceroo midfielder beat David Carney with a neat swivel on the edge of the box before unleashing a rasping drive which deflected past the helpless Mark Birighitti.
2-0 (Stefan Mauk 22’) - The youngster picked up the ball on the halfway line before playing a neat one-two with Ben Garuccio on the edge of the Jets box. Running at the defence, Mauk played the ball to David Williams who produced a delicate flick over the top for the midfielder to chest down and smash home.
2-1 (Ben Kantarovski 58’) - Mateo Poljak was left in acres of space with the midfielder dinking a beautiful cross to Kantarovski who’s pinpoint header nestled into the far corner, leaving Sorensen with no chance.
2-2 (Milos Trifunovic 74’) - Wade Dekker was penalised for a handball inside the Jets box and Trifunovic coolly slotted from the spot to put the visitors back on level terms.
2-3 (Milos Trifunovic 80’) - David Carney whipped in a wicked free kick from a wide position with Trifunovic rising highest before powering a header past the stationary Sorensen.
After struggling to deal with City’s octane approach in the opening 45 minutes, the Jets turned things around in the second half and Kantarovski’s strike gave them belief of a turnaround. But the handball decision against Wade Dekker inside the Jets’ area turned the match on its head, with Trifunovic’s goal handing the visitors all the momentum.
David Carney has been the bright spark for the Jets in opening rounds and the former Socceroo was again outstanding for Scott Miller’s side. He was a constant threat down the flank for the Jets and crucially set up the winner for Trifunovic.
Bruno Fornaroli has set the Hyundai A-League alight in the opening month but the Uruguayan spurned a golden opportunity in just the third minute. The striker was all alone at the back post from a corner but he skewed his header wide when it appeared easier to score.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
Brazilian playmaker Leonardo was a notable absentee for the Jets and his replacement Mitch Cooper struggled to make an impact in midfield. The youngster toiled hard but the Jets’ lack of possession in the opening stanza didn’t help his cause and was subsequently replaced at half-time by the industrious Cameron Watson.
The Jets’ lack of depth is a concern, especially in the final third but youngsters Brandon Lundy and Andy Brennan are options for Scott Miller in wide areas.
THE FINAL WORD
The Jets have now won three out of their first four and are surprise league leaders, for 24 hours at least. Scott Miller has instilled a new found belief at Newcastle as their stirring second half comeback showed. The Jets will enjoy two home games over the next fortnight which could set them up for the rest of the season.
John van’t Schip would be disappointed with his side’s inability to kill the Jets off in the first half after completely dominating the play. City struggled to run out the game in the second half and substitutes Corey Gameiro and Wade Dekker failed to make an impact. Four points from the opening four games is an average return for one of the title favourites and they will need to regroup ahead of next week’s clash against Adelaide.
Melbourne City: Sorensen (GK), Chapman, Mooy, Williams (Gameiro 55’), Retre, Garuccio, Mauk, Fornaroli, Kisnorbo(C), Melling, Kuzmanovski (Dekker 55’)
Newcastle Jets: Birighitti (GK); Hoffman, Mullen, Boogaard (C), Lee; Kantarovski, Poljak, Cooper (Watson 45’); Carney, Trifunovic, Alivodic
Scorers: Mooy 12’, Mauk 22’, Kantarovski 58’, Trifunovic 74’, 79’
Red cards: Nil
Yellow cards: Hoffman 15’, Kuzmanovski 27’, Kantarovski 42’, Ki Je 59’, Carney 64’, Gameiro 78’, Trifunovic 80’, Birighitti 84’
Conditions: 29C, Fine