The Newcastle Jets have secured a finals spot win a wonderful 4-0 win over Table Toppers Melbourne Victory at Newcastle International Sports Centre in front of another healthy crowd in Newcastle.
The Jets could finish as high as second if Adelaide lose Sunday night's game against the Central Coast Mariners. The result in Saturday night's Brisbane match may also have an impact on second place as Queensland Roar and Sydney FC fight out a sudden death match. The Roar must win, while a draw will see Sydney through.
How it has changed, the last time the two teams meet in Newcastle was in Round 7. It was to be Nick Theodorakopoulos last game in charge, the Jets lost 0-2, and was played in front of the lowest A-League crowd to ever attend in Newcastle.. 4,635 the loss left the Jets dead last with just 2 point from 7 matches.
Before the kick off, Ernie Merrick and Kevin Muscat were presented with the Premiership trophy, Victory had secured this by Round 17, winning the Premiership includes qualification for the 2008 ACL.
But after the kick off it was all the Jets, as early as the 5th minute a perfect North pass had Griffiths clear on goal his low hard shot was deflected over the cross bar from Theoklitos. Then a Matt Thompson cross found Griffiths but his goal bound header was saved by Theoklitos.
Archie Thompson first possession came in the 11th minute but his run along the edge of the penalty area was brought to an end by a Eagleton diving tackle which conceded a corner from which Covic causes some anxious moments with a mistimed punch but the defence quickly clears.
The Jets look more lively and they continue to create the chances, Carle steals possession flicks the ball to Brown whose cross finds Coveny but his header is wide, Then the busy Musialik finds Matt Thompson his low drive is wide of the far post.
The 22nd minute has a Bridge cross which finds Griffiths in front of goal but his header is wide of the upright.
Melbourne respond when Okon misses a clearance, Archie Thompson swoops on the ball, his pass to Fred is slightly over hit and Covic is off his line quickly to cover.
The Jets then play a sweet flowing move from their own half Okon finds Griffiths to Carle who lays up Brown at the edge of the area but his shot is over the cross bar.
The turning point arguably comes in the 34th minute a Muscat header is centimetres wide from a Lia corner and then shortly after a bad Allsopp back pass has Vargas stumbling, Bridge is first to the ball and in front of goal his low shot finds the back of the net 1-0 Jets in the 36th minute.
Muscat immediately tried to hit back with a goal of his own, testing out Covic with an audacious strike from halfway which Covic is able to scramble away from goal.
Then North loses possession and Melbourne should have equalised through Archie Thompson, who dribbled to the six-yard box from the corner of the area only to see his strike hit the outside of the left upright.
The first half ends with a Muscat free kick finding Byrnes who heads just over the cross bar.
The opening moments of the second half has Brown and Griffiths heading wide, before a Brown up field header finds Bridge who is helped by a mishit clearance from Vargas to run clear and again find the back of the net. Its 2-0 Jets.
The 51st minute sees a beautiful Jets passing move end with a Carle pass to Coveny who beats the last defender to slot the ball past Theoklitos. Its 3-0 Jets and the home fans are in raptures.
Melbourne immediately try to hit back as Allsopp finds Archie Thompson who cleverly finds space in the six yard box but his shot is over the cross bar. Archie then cleverly runs over the ball allowing it to come to Allsopp whose strike from the edge of the penalty area is deflected for a corner, from which Lia heads wide.
In the 63rd minute a nice Jets passing move ends in a Griffith through ball for Bridge who is on a hatrick but his firm shot is saved by Theoklitos.
Melbourne continue to try to break down the Jets and are able to hold the ball for long periods but they can't make the telling final pass.
The 73rd minute has a Jets sweeping move from North to Rodriguez to Thompson whose low cross is for Bridge but he leaves it for Griffiths to strike home, its 4-0 Jets.
The closing minutes sees Muscat come storming of the pitch 'I thought it was a good time to come off the pitch, I made no contact at all, I think the next tackle I could get another card' he stated at the post match press conference as Merrick was forced to make a substitution.
The final minutes with the game well and truly won, the Jets fans were all in a wonderful party atmosphere with Mexican waves flowing across the stadium.
Gary Van Egmond stated ' 4-0 is a hell of a score line, there is pressure on Adelaide to secure second spot, This has been our best performance at home'.
Ernie Merrick comments included ' It was pretty even, we caught them on the break, Archie hit the post, we had Kevin's long shot , we gifted them a goal then another and another'. Newcastle are the first team to have out played us'