Newcastle Jets have snatched a dramatic 3-2 win over Melbourne Heart in a cracking Hyundai A-League season opener at Ausgrid Stadium.
An injury-time goal to Newcastle defender Byun Sung-Hwan has enabled the Jets to cap a tumultuous week with a dramatic 3-2 win over the Melbourne Heart in their season-opening Hyundai A-League match at Ausgrid Stadium on Saturday.
The Heart took the lead midway through the first half with a goal to Mate Dugandzic before a Ryan Griffiths brace gave the Jets a 2-1 lead at half-time.
A second goal to Dugandzic levelled the match in the 51st minute.
Both sides had their chances to win the contest but the telling blow was struck by Byun whose deflected shot wrong-footed Heart goalkeeper Nikola Roganovic deep into injury-time.
The win gives Newcastle some sense of closure after a dramatic week of events, including the sacking of coach Branko Culina just five days before the start of the season.
A healthy crowd of 12,467 showed their support to the home side by turning up in near-perfect condition but the first real chance of the match fell to new Heart recruit David Williams, who was played in by a nice ball from Fred, but he scuffed his shot wide of the far post.
The Heart did eventually break through for the opening goal of the new season to Dugandzic.
Former Jet Jason Hoffman loped into space down the left side and into the box before squaring a lovely pass across the face of the goal where Dugandzic came from the back post to slam it in from point-blank range.
The Jets hit back on the half-hour mark when Griffiths nailed a free-kick from the edge of the area after he was fouled by Matt Thompson.
Fred had a great chance in the 43rd minute when Dugandzic dispossessed Byun and slid the ball through for his skipper, but Kennedy dove on the ball first.
The Jets struck again right on the stroke of half-time when Labinot Haliti pounced on a defensive error from the Heart. He threaded the ball through to Ali Abbas on the edge of the area and he lobbed a ball over for Griffiths who slammed a left-foot shot inside the far post.
Griffiths almost had a third just a minute later when he got into space and put a shot on goal only for Heart keeper Nikloa Roganovic to push the ball over the crossbar for the Jets to take a 2-1 lead into the break.
The Heart equalised just five minutes into the second half when Fred floated a lovely ball to the back post where Dugandzic slotted it in for his second goal of the afternoon.
Both sides threatened the goal with Heart substitute Alex Terra going close and Jets substitute Jeremy Brockie providing extra pace up front for the home side.
Jets skipper Jobe Wheelhouse shot over from long range before Fred launched an audacious volley from halfway that floated wide.
The Jets scored the winner deep into injury-time when Brockie and Ruben Zadkovich engineered some good play in the middle of the park.
Byun took the ball across the face of goal and shot from 18 yards, his shot took a deflection off Heart defender Michael Marrone and bounced into the near corner to hand Newcastle a thrilling 3-2 win.
Newcastle Jets 3 Griffiths 31, 45+1, Byun 90+1
Melbourne Heart 2 Dugandzic 24, 51
Crowd 12,467 at Ausgrid Stadium