Angus Thurgate has fired the Newcastle Jets to within touching distance of the top six after his 72nd minute goal buried an uninspiring Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.
It was a goal certainly worthy of a replay with Valentino Yuel playing the perfect ball across to his right – after catching the midfielder in the corner of his eye – to which Thurgate drilled into the back of the net.
The Jets – who outplayed the Victory – were deserved winners on the day and caps off a near perfect month with the side’s recent unbeaten run stretching to five matches under new boss Craig Deans.
Steven Ugarkovic controlled the middle of the park, while the defensive trio of John Koutroumbis and veterans Nikolai Topor-Stanley and Nigel Boogard held their own against Victory’s front third – who barely fired a shot.
This, coupled with several sloppy passages of play throughout the match, left the 5166 in attendance frustrated and without many reasons to get up out of their seats.
While the stadium quickly filtered out, the players were forced to walk off to a chorus of boos from a small yet vocal section of the fan-base behind the goals.
In what was Victory’s first of four consecutive home matches, this posed as the perfect opportunity for the four-time champions to rectify their poor start to the season – which sees them sitting bottom with one win from their opening seven matches.
Callum McManaman showed glimpses in his return from an ankle injury. The former Wigan winger nearly single handily invigorated his side when he slid past two defenders and forced a save out of Jack Duncan, with Jake Brimmer’s follow up deflecting out for a corner in Victory’s best chance of the match.
The Victory were also perhaps lucky to finish the match with 11 players with the VAR taking several minutes to assess Storm Roux’s high-boot on Thurgate with both players landing hard after the collision.
Thankfully for the Victory they will quickly shift their attention to Wednesday’s clash against the Wellington, with the Jets also scheduled to host the Phoenix in their next match.
MELBOURNE VICTORY 0
NEWCASTLE JETS 1 (Thurgate 72′)
Max Crocombe, Storm Roux (Leigh Broxham 38’ ), Nick Ansell (Dylan Ryan 58’), Ryan Shotton, Adama Traore, Jacob Butterfield, Birkan Kirdar, Jake Brimmer, Callum McManaman (Ben Folami 68’), Robbie Kruse, Luis Lawrie-Lattanzio (Rudy Gestede 68’)
Matt Acton, Jay Barnett, Elvis Kamsoba,
Jack Duncan, John Koutroumbis, Nigel Boogard, Steven Ugarkovic, Roy O’Donovan, Ramy Najjarine (Luka Prso 62’), Matt Millar, Valentino Yuel, Connor Toole, Angus Thurgate, Nikolai Topor-Stanley
Lewis Italiano, Ali Abbas, Tete Yengi, Jack Armson, Archie Goodwin, Lucas Mauragis