The Newcastle Jets have secured a 1-0 win over local rivals the Central Coast Mariners (CCM) in a tough battle at Newcastle International Sports Centre in front of another healthy crowd in Newcastle.
Jets coach Gary Van Egmond pulled a masterstroke by giving a start to Milton Rodriguez who responded by scoring the only goal of the game in the 24th minute after receiving a pass from Mark Bridge sending the home team's fans into raptures.
The game started at a frantic pace with end to end stuff as both teams attacked.
As early as the 2nd minute Noel Spencer is on the end of a CCM move, his shot is just wide of the near upright. A minute later Joel Griffiths is sprinting through on goal but he can't control the through ball and he lost possession. The next minute Stewart Petrie hit a ball just over the cross bar. Then Rodriguez was through on goal but was pulled back by Wayne O'Sullivan who receives a yellow card - the resulting free kick is well struck by Rodriguez from 20 metres but is just over the cross bar.
The action continued with Matt Thompson finding Griffiths in the penalty area however his close range shot is wide of the upright, then a clever Andre Gumprecht run saw him pass to an unmarked Adam Kwasnik but he hits it over the cross bar. In the next minute Noel Spencer teed up a shot for Damien Brown, and his goal bound shot is going into the top corner but a great diving save from Ante Covic, saves the Jets.
Michael Jedinak crossed for Matthew Osman in the 19th minute but Covic is there to punch the ball clear.
The Jets took the lead in the 24th minute with a counter attack, Carle found a sprinting Mark Bridge who passed on to the unmarked Rodriguez - who hits the ball past the advancing Danny Vukovic, 1-0 Jets.
The CCM respond immediately and a nice interchange of passes leads to O'Sullivan who hits a low shot past the keeper but past the post. This is followed up by a Brown cross that is brilliantly headed by Jedinak towards the top near corner but Covic makes a full stretch save.
In the 35th minute Bridge sends Rodriguez towards goal with a pass to his deadly left foot but his goal bound blast is blocked by O'Sullivan.
The 41st minute should of seen the Jets go 2 goals up as they break with Carle to Eagleton to Bridge who has Griffiths unmarked to his left but he elects to shoot and scoops it over the cross bar.
The second half begins with the CCM coming out firing , neat passing ends with Jedinak firing over the cross bar, Spencer tees up Osman who hits is straight at Covic, A Spencer cross sees Covic fumble but regather just as Petrie is about to strike.
Its all one way traffic as the Jets put everyone behind the ball, Kwasnik in the 56th minute fires over from an acute angle and Petrie a minute later sees his curling shot over the cross bar. The CCM certainly miss Nick Mjdra and Damian Mori - they need a finisher up front.
The pace of the game drops in the final 25 minutes but its stoll the Mariners as O'Grady heads over from close range.
Both sets of fans try to lift their teams, once again a large number of Mariners fans have made the trip up the F3 to attend this derby fixture.
In a frantic finish Coveny goes close for the home side but his control lets him down, then the Jets break quickly with Carle/Coveny/Bridge combining before the CCM defence clears.
Matthew Simon disposes Durante in the 88th minute but his run towards goal comes to nothing as the other defenders cover and then finally a point blank header from Petrie is saved by man of the match Ante Covic.
The result has Newcastle over taking both the Queensland Roar and Central Coast Mariners on the ladder jumping into fourth place.
The Central Coast, meanwhile, slips to sixth spot.