Melbourne Victory 1 Newcastle Jets 3
On a night of pouring rain in Melbourne, Victory’s season was washed away by Newcastle Jets by three goals to one at AAMI Park on Saturday.
Statistically it is still possible for Victory to make the top six but it would have to win all its remaining three games and either Melbourne Heart or the Jets would have to lose all three for that to occur.
So it is season over for the pre-season favourite.
The game itself was a microcosm of Victory’s campaign.
It went off like a rocket, failed to turn possession and opportunities into goals, then conceded three to defensive mistakes and the quality of the opposition and finally fought back but squandered all the chances to salvage something from the game and lost a senior player to a red card to compound the misery.
Victory could have been at least a couple of goals ahead in early attacks.
Harry Kewell’s blistering grounder was raffled round the post by Ben Kennedy and it could just as easily have gone inside.
Rojas blasted over after a good move involving Kewell and Hernandez.
The Jets weathered this early storm and hit back against the run of play.
Archie Thompson failed to chase down a loose ball which was quickly transferred to the other end via Ruben Zadkovic who sent Tarek Elrich clear and his cross was thumped in by Ryan Griffiths ahead of Ante Covic. That was in the 20th minute.
The lead only lasted four minutes and when defender Ubay Luzardo went up for a high ball in the penalty area he was pulled down by Tiago Calvano.
Harry Kewell, skipper in place of the injured Adrian Leijer, drove the penalty kick under the diving Kennedy.
The Jets came back strongly and Ryan Griffiths and Jobe Wheelhouse combined to set up young Jacob Pepper for his first goal at senior level for the club.
That was in 29 minutes and ten minutes later the youngster had his second.
This time he finished smartly from a cross by Ruben Zadkovic.
Yet Victory could have been on terms before half-time.
Archie Thompson got behind the defence and hit the bar in the 43rd minute, then Kewell was bundled over in the box but decided to take the penalty only to blast it high over the bar.
It is often wise to let a second player take a second penalty, but Kewell was confident he could do the job.
Isaka Cernak came on for Rojas at the interval and Victory went chasing the game, but most of its attacks fizzled out in front of the Jets’ defence.
Just short of the hour, Kewell set up Carlos Hernandez but the Costa Rican’s only lifted the ball into Kennedy’s arms instead of over his head.
Hernandez was booked for a rather innocuous foul on 66 minutes which was to prove costly later.
Jimmy Jeggo was one player contributing to Victory’s efforts and he found substitute Jean Carlos Solarzano with a cross but this time Kennedy deserved the plaudits for an excellent save.
Cernak set up Hernandez again and this time the shot bounced off Kenney’s chest, but whether it was the frustration that coach Jim Magilton mentioned later or simply a lack of control, Hernandez threw himself into a tackle on the touchline and was booked a second time and sent off.
With him went any realistic chance of Victory saving the game, though it did have some route one efforts later in the game and one good run by Kewell and a shot which just cleared the bar.
Jim Magilton tried to put a brave face on the Victory performance but he must be disappointed at the response by his squad on the park, whatever they do in training and practice.
The league ladder does not lie.
Gary van Egmond has once again got the Jets into a challenging position and feels that he has matured as a coach with his experiences at the AIS and with national roles. The players are responding to his coaching and they decided to press Victory higher up the park in this game and the tactic worked.
Saturday, 3 March 2012
Melbourne Victory (Harry Kewell 24’) Newcastle Jets 3 (Jacob Pepper 29’, 39’, Ryan Griffiths 23’)
Venue: AAMI Park
Local kick-off: 5:30pm
Referee: Jarred gillett
Assistant referees: Shaun Evans and George Lakrinidis
Fourth official: Lucien Laverdure
21 Ante Covic, 2 Matthew Foschine, 4 Petar Franjic, 5 Mark Milligan, 7 Matthew Kemp (6 Leigh Broxham 42’), 10 Archie Thompson (Jean Carlos Solorzano 71’), 11 Marco Rojas (19 Isaka Cernak 46’), 16 Carlos Hernandez, 17 Jimmy Jeggo, 22 Harry Kewell, 28 Ubay Luzardo.
Unused substitutes: 30 Sebastian Mattei
Yellow cards: Carlos Hernandez 66’
Red cards: Carlos Hernandez 82’
1 Ben Kennedy, 4 Nikolai Topor-Stanley, 5 Tiago Calvano, 6 Ben Kantarovski, 10 Ruben Zadkovic, 11 Tarek Elrich (9 Michael Bridges 80’), 12 Jobe Wheelhouse (22 Ali Abbas 63’), 13 Sung-Hwan Byun, 23 Ryan Griffiths, 24 Francis Jeffers (8 Jeremy Brockie 71’), 25 Jacob Pepper.
Unused substitutes: 19 Matthew Nash
Yellow cards: Ruben Zadkovic 18’, Ben Kennedy 88’
Red cards: Nil