Newcastle Jets coach Phil Stubbins was relieved a refereeing blunder didn’t cost his side a huge win over Western Sydney Wanderers FC on Saturday.
The Jets held off a fast-finishing Wanderers to win 2-1 and leapfrog them to be off the bottom of the Hyundai A-League ladder.
But the match will be remembered for a controversial off-side decision in the first-half which denied Jets striker Edson Montano a certain goal.
With the Jets leading 1-0 just after the half-hour mark, assistant referee Sarah Ho raised her flag to chalk off Montano’s goal, despite replays showing the Ecuadorian was clearly onside.
Luckily for the visitors they doubled their lead soon after and then held on after the break for their first road win of the season.
"There's been a lot of moments over the course of the campaign that haven't gone our way,” Stubbins said afterwards when asked about the decision.
“To have to witness that one was a hard one to bear. I’m just thankful it had no bearing on the end result.
"It was a decision that was obviously going to cause some angst. It was a mistake…you saw my reaction.
“I’m just ecstatic for the group. As a young bunch of boys in the changeroom it was a great experience for them. To run the game out like we did, I think we showed some maturity towards the end of the game as well which is good.”
It was the imports who had the big impact for the Jets, with Serbian Enver Alivodic getting his first goal for the club while Korean Lee Ki-Je also scored to cap another fine display.
Stubbins said the club is doing all they can to try and convince the par to stay beyond this season.
“We’re in a rebuilding phase and we’re doing everything we can to rebuild the club in the right way,” he said.
“We want to get ourselves in a position where we’re strong enough to challenge at the pointy end of the A-League.”
While this victory won’t go far from erasing what’s been a difficult season for the Hunter club, it has given them hope of avoiding the wooden spoon.
The Jets are now three-points clear of the Wanderers with five rounds remaining, although Tony Popovic’s men has a game in hand.
"We don't want the wooden spoon. That is obviously something that's in the back of the mind of the playing group,” the Jets boss said.
"If you look at those amount of games where we've been accountable, to finally get a win down here is a great tonic for the group. It's reliving to get the three points."