Fans were treated to all-sorts as Round 19 kicked off.
Not only did over 23,000 come out to see the Phoenix – but the Newcastle Jets pulled off one of their most important wins yet.
Wellington Phoenix 1 – 1 Melbourne Victory
For the third time this season Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory have shared the spoils.
After two previously entertaining affairs at AAMI Park – the two sides met for the final time in the home-and-away season at Auckland’s Eden Park.
The match had plenty to offer for the record-breaking 23,648 in attendance who created an atmosphere never before seen at a Phoenix home game.
The home side rose to the occasion and peppered the Victory goal early with superstar Roy Krishna creating the best of the early chances – mistiming an attempt from inside the six-yard box which would have given the Phoenix the lead.
But Krishna’s fortunes would quickly turn as he capitalised on a costly Victory turnover to put-away his 12th goal of the season from close range in the 57th minute.
With momentum on his side – Krishna was played through after a swift passage of play but desperately denied at the last by Lawrence Thomas.
The introduction of international marquee Keisuke Honda sparked the Victory into action and it wasn’t long before their Japanese superstar had his name on the scoresheet.
A foul inside the box on Leigh Broxham gave the referee no choice but to point to the spot – allowing Honda to score his first goal since returning from injury.
The Victory would have one last chance to claim the three points but were denied by a heroic Fillip Kurto who acrobatically denied a deflected Kenny Athieu attempt late in the match.
Despite drawing – the result does not do too much for either side with both Victory and Wellington remaining second and sixth on the table respectively.
Newcastle Jets 3 – 1 Melbourne City
After the week the Jets have had – who could have predicted this?
Ernie Merrick made seven changes to his starting line-up, leaving goalkeeper Glen Moss, Dimitri Petratos and Ben Kantarovski out of the side to name a few.
Melbourne City meanwhile named a near full-strength team with Jamie Maclaren and Shayon Harrison leading the lines for a second consecutive week.
The home side was quick to flip this script as Jair headered his second goal for the season to give the Jets a shock lead in the 22nd minute.
But after what appeared to be a stern talking-to at half time from Warren Joyce – City sprung into action and found themselves back in the match in the 55th minute when Maclaren scored his second in as many weeks for his new club.
Though the unmanned Jets were determined to see this one through and found themselves in front as super-sub Joey Champness scored in the 75th before Roy O’Donovan all but sealed the deal for the Jets four minutes later, wrapping up a famous win.
The win places the Jets six points behind both City and Wellington, who sit fifth and sixth respectively, to set up an exciting final few rounds.