Roar stay in the hunt

Brisbane Roar have kept themselves in contention for the Premiers' Plate with a thrilling 2-1 win over the Newcastle Jets in an action-packed Hyundai A-league clash at Hunter Stadium.

Brisbane Roar have kept themselves in contention for the Premiers' Plate with a thrilling 2-1 win over the Newcastle Jets in an action-packed Hyundai A-league clash at Hunter Stadium.

This was a match that had everything with both sides having plenty to play for - Roar duelling with the Mariners for the Premiership while the Jets needed a win to cement a top six spot, and both sides accordingly gave it their all.

The Jets had all the chances early before goal-scoring ace Besart Berisha pinched the lead for the visitors in the 14th minute.

Roar were unlucky not to go further ahead with two shots hitting the woodwork.

The Jets then levelled proceedings with a delightful free-kick to Ali Abbas in the 40th minute to make it 1-1 at half-time.

Jets defender Tiago Calvano then gave away two second-half penalties, the first taken by Henrique in the 54th minute was saved by goalkeeper Ben Kennedy before Mitch Nichols made sure of the second spot kick in 81st minute to give the Roar all three points.

The win sees the Premiership plate go down to the last round while the Jets must now get a result from their away match against Sydney next week to assure themselves of a finals berth.

The Jets got off to a flying start penetrating a sleepy Brisbane defence. Jeremy Brockie shot across the face of goal, Ali Abbas narrowly missed with a left-footer from inside the area before Jeffers fired over all within the first 10 minutes.

Brisbane weathered the opening onslaught and then pinched the lead in the 14th minute via super striker Besart Berisha when he pounced on a loose ball by the jets and turned Newcastle defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley inside out before sliding a shot under goalkeeper Ben Kennedy for a 1-0 lead.

The goal sparked Roar into action and they should have doubled their lead four minutes later when Henrique was played in by Berisha.

He fired a low shot past Kennedy but it miraculously bounced off the near post and then the far post before the Jets custodian cleaned up.

Berisha went within inches of grabbing his second goal in the 22nd minute when he got in space just inside the box and fired across goal, beating Kennedy but hitting the far post.

Newcastle managed to wrestle back some control and they levelled the contest with a wonderful free-kick from Abbas five minutes before half-time.

Jeffers won the free-kick when he was tripped 25 out and Abbas lifted a lovely shot over the wall and into the corner of the net to send the sides to the break locked at 1-1.

Brisbane started the second half on the offensive and looked like taking the lead in the 53rd minute when Jets defender Tiago Calvano gave away a penalty for pushing Roar left-back Jack Hingert in the box.

Henrique placed the ball on the spot but seemed to take a casual shot and Kennedy did well to dive to his left to save.

The penalty save noticeably lifted the home side and they managed to swing the flow of the game back in their favour.

Newcastle went close to taking the lead on a fast break just before the hour mark. Jeffers played the ball wide for Ryan Griffiths who had just come on as a substitute for Tarek Elrich.

The speedy winger took play inside the box before propping and firing a right-foot shot which Theokiltos parried away into the path of Jeffers. The Englishman side footed towards goal but the Roar custodian stuck up a glove to send the shot over the crossbar.

With the momentum behind them the Jets continued to press and they went close again in the 73rd minute when Wheelhouse's shot from a tight angle deflected off Brisbane defender Matthew Smith and looked like looping into the goal only for Theoklitos to produce an amazing leap to swat the ball away.

As they so often do, Roar managed to get push forward against the run of play and won another penalty when Tiago brought down Erik Paartalu in the box. This time Mitch Nichols stepped up and sent Kennedy the wrong way for Brisbane to take a 2-1 lead with nine minutes remaining.

The Jets tried desperately to restore parity in the final minutes but the Roar showed composure at the back to control the play and hold on for a thrilling victory.

Newcastle Jets 1 Abbas 40 Brisbane Roar 2 Berisha 14, Nichols 81p

Crowd 11,471 at Hunter Stadium