A hat trick from in-form Newcastle Jets striker Adam Taggart has condemned Melbourne Heart FC to a 3-1 defeat this evening in Round 7 of the Hyundai A-League.
Taggart’s opportunistic first-half strike, followed by a second-half double from the 20-year-old, gave the Jets all three points at Hunter Stadium.
Despite trailing 2-0 in the 55th minute, Melbourne Heart pulled a goal back through Andrea Migliorini’s deflected free kick, before threatening to claw another goal back when substitute Michael Mifsud struck the woodwork.
But it was man-of-the-match Taggart who stole the headlines and spoiled any hopes of a Heart comeback with the clincher.
Melbourne Heart started promisingly with Patrick Kisnorbo and Migliorini returning to the starting line-up after injury lay-offs, while Mifsud was selected on the bench after returning on Thursday from international duty with Malta.
The Red and White started the brighter of the two teams and David Williams almost snatched an early lead in the sixth minute from Iain Ramsay’s free kick from deep.
Williams found space in the six-yard box and collected a flick-on from Mate Dugandzic, but steered his shot into Jets keeper Mark Birighitti, who did well to smother the effort from close range.
Eight minutes later Williams flashed a shot wide of the target after a good turn and through-ball from Golgol Mebrahtu and the Red and White crafted the better openings in the early exchanges.
However, Heart were dealt a blow when Taggart - with his first real sight of goal - pulled out a spectacular strike from the edge of the box which flew past Heart keeper Andrew Redmayne in the 38th minute.
Taggart’s strike proved the difference at the interval, but the second half produced three more goals in a frantic seven-minute period.
The Jets’ sharp-shooter struck again in the 55th minute, curling a low strike into Redmayne’s bottom-left corner to give the home side a two-goal cushion.
But that lead was cut in half just three minutes later as Migliorini’s deflected free kick beat Birighitti and gave Heart hope.
That hope was unfortunately short-lived for Melbourne, as Taggart claimed his hat-trick with another goal in the 62nd minute.
Heart looked for a way back into the match through Williams’ long range effort, before Mifsud’s deflected shot in the 70th minute ricocheted off the upright after beating Birighitti.
Both sides created a number of opportunities in the final 20 minutes, but it was Newcastle who kept Heart at bay and claimed the three points.
Melbourne Heart play Adelaide United at AAMI Park in Round 8 of the Hyundai A-League next Sunday, 1 December 2013.
Match DetailsSunday, 24 November 2013Hyundai A-League Round 7Newcastle Jets 3 (Adam Taggart 38’, 55’, 62)Melbourne Heart FC 1 (Andrea Migliorini 58’)Hunter Stadium, NewcastleHT: 1-0Referee: Peter GreenAttendance: 12,806
Melbourne Heart FC Starting XI: 1. Andrew REDMAYNE (GK), 3. Robbie WIELAERT, 6. Patrick GERHARDT, 7. Iain RAMSAY, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 14. Golgol MEBRAHTU, 15. David WILLIAMS, 16. Aziz BEHICH (21. Stefan MAUK 80’), 23. Mate DUGANDZIC (11. Michael MIFSUD 63’), 24. Patrick KISNORBO, 25. Andrea MIGLIORINI (28. Paulo RETRE 87’)Substitutes not used: 20. Tando VELAPHI (GK), 2. Jeremy WALKERYellow cards: Iain RAMSAY 89’Red cards: Nil
Newcastle Jets FC Starting XI: 1. Mark BIRIGHITTI, 2. Scott NEVILLE, 3. Taylor REGAN, 5. Benjamin KANTAROVSKI, 7. Andrew HOOLE (9. Emile HESKEY 52’), 8. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 10. Nathan BURNS (11. Craig GOODWIN 87’), 14. Joshua MITCHELL, 15. Joshua BRILLANTE, 16. Jacob PEPPER, 22. Adam TAGGART (18. James BROWN 81’)Substitutes not used: 20. Ben KENNEDY, 6. Zenon CARAVELLAYellow cards: Scott NEVILLE 31’, Ruben ZADKOVIC 40’, Adam TAGGART 40’, Andrew HOOLE 43’, Joshua MITCHELL 69’Red cards: Nil