Jets stun Victory with 1-0 win - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Jets stun Victory with 1-0 win

By Guy Hand 26/11/2006 09:45:48 PM Comments (0)

Bottom of the league seven weeks ago, the Newcastle Jets emerged as serious A-League title contenders with a stunning 1-0 upset of competition leader Melbourne Victory at Telstra Dome.

Newcastle striker Milton Rodriguez scored the winner on the hour after a piece of genius from midfield playmaker Nick Carle.

Carle's blind turn and through ball with a defender on his tail broke open a tense struggle at Telstra Dome, with Rodriguez converting the brilliance into a match-winner.

The Jets didn't win a match in their first seven games, sacked coach Nick Theodorakopoulos, flirted with the ridiculous in trying to sign disgraced ex-England striker Stan Collymore and looked bound for a season-long wooden spoon battle with the New Zealand Knights.

But the Jets' remarkable upswing in form - unbeaten in six of their seven matches with new coach Gary van Egmond in charge - reached a zenith with a deserved away win over the competition benchmark.

Melbourne still leads the A-League by 11 points from second-placed Sydney FC and remains unbackable minor premiership favourite.

However the Jets now climb to equal fourth with the Central Coast Mariners and loom as a serious finals wildcard if - as looks likely on the effort - they reach the top four at season's end.

Key to the turnaround appears rookie coach van Egmond, who has worked wonders, albeit with a talented squad including the gifted Carle, ex-Socceroos skipper Paul Okon, Uruguayan Rodriguez and Socceroos defender Jade North.

"If we can keep our base players injury-free and free from suspension we'll do well in the competition - no doubt about it," van Egmond said.

"In the first seven rounds we didn't win a game, and we all know that losing is a habit, not winning is a habit.

"Then all of a sudden the confidence grew, people started to have a smile on their face at training, and the boys are really enjoying their football."

While the Victory were undermanned without skipper Kevin Muscat, the Jets were good value for their win.

The Jets' top four cause was helped with Adelaide United now sitting precariously in third place after a disappointing 2-0 loss to Central Coast at Gosford on Saturday night.

Adelaide is now just three points clear of the Mariners and Jets.

And its much-vaunted Brazilian guest player Romario had a disappointing debut, spending 80 minutes wandering aimlessly around Central Coast Stadium.

He missed a sitter which could have changed the match and generally performed more like a pub footballer than the 1994 world footballer of the year.

Adelaide United, which is forking out an estimated $250,000 for Romario's four-match stint, will be hoping jet-lag was the only issue and the Brazilian will lift against Melbourne in Adelaide next weekend.

On Friday night, Sydney FC impressed with a 3-0 Aussie Stadium romp against Queensland Roar - which has lost its opening two matches under new coach Frank Farina to slide to second bottom.

Perth Glory leapfrogged the Roar in the other match, fighting back from an early goal down to whip bottom side New Zealand Knights 4-1 in Perth.

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