The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets defeated Brisbane Roar 2-0 at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
On a bumpy playing surface, it was the home side that adapted best to the conditions early on, fashioning the first clear-cut opportunity in the 8th minute of the contest.
Besart Berisha's ball to the back post was hooked back into the middle of the penalty area by Ivan Franjic where an unmarked Liam Miller was waiting.
However, the Scotsman could only drag his first-time shot wide of the target as a golden opportunity went begging for the Roar.
Brisbane continued to control much of the play and almost took the lead in the 16th minute with Thomas Broich’s cross from the left flank picked out Berisha.
However, the Albanian failed to generate any power with his header, allowing for Mark Birighitti to make a comfortable save.
Just two minutes later, the Roar were on the attack again, with the Jets turn possession over in a dangerous area.
Matt McKay played in Ivan Franjic, but the fringe Socceroo’s first touch let him down, allowing for Birighitti to come off his line and smother the chance.
Birighitti was called into action again just a minute later, with Corey Brown’s cross-come-shot from the left flank forcing Birighitti to react sharply and make a save at his near post.
Newcastle relied primarily on the pace of Adam Taggart to get in behind the Roar’s defence, with the Jets striker forcing Matt Smith and James Donachie to clear their lines on a number of occasions.
The complexion of the match changed around 25 minutes into the contest, with Jets head coach Gary van Egmond altering the Jets formation from a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield, to Newcastle’s more familiar 4-3-3.
The change in formation coincided with the Jets' best period of the game as they steadily worked their way back into the contest and began to keep the ball more effectively.
Newcastle created their first goal-scoring opportunity in the 28th minute, with James Brown striking a powerful cross back across the face of goal that Taggart was inches away from getting a foot to.
The pressure the Jets had started to build eventually told, with the visitors taking the lead in the 34th minute of the match courtesy of an own goal from Roar defender James Donachie.
Ben Kantarovski set Jacob Pepper free down the right flank with a delightful through ball before Pepper then linked up with Andrew Hoole, who showed great pace and touch to skip past Smith inside the penalty area.
With Adam Taggart lurking inside the six-yard box, Hoole struck a low cross that forced Donachie to intervene and the Roar defender was only able to knock the ball past Michael Theo into his own net, giving the Jets a 1-0 lead.
The Jets finished the first half strongly and continued that level of play at the start of the second stanza with Hoole and Taggart linking up well in the front third and creating and handful of half-chances that they were unable to convert.
The Roar responded well to the pressure, with Jets defender Sam Gallaway forced to make a crucial intervention in the 51st minute to deny Ivan Franjic a clear goal-scoring opportunity after a dangerous ball from Corey Brown.
The Jets continued to look dangerous on the counter-attack however, with Taggart forcing Theo to make a sharp low save after being put through on goal by Brillante in the 54th minute.
Shortly after, Taggart twice found himself in one-on-one situations with Theo, only for the offside flag to be raised on both occasions.
The Jets could have had an opportunity to double their lead in the 73rd minute when Smith appeared to handle the ball in the penalty area following a Jets corner.
However, referee Peter Green denied the Jets’ strong appeal for a spot-kick.
It was all hands on deck for the Jets as they desperately looked to hang onto their lead.
Kew Jaliens came up with a crucial goal-saving tackle to deny Berisha, before Jets captain Ruben Zadkovich followed suit with a sliding block to keep out Henrique’s shot after the Brazilian had found space in the box.
The Jets put the result beyond doubt with a sensational counter-attack in the 87th minute.
Jaliens won the ball on the edge of the Jets’ penalty area, before finding Josh Brillante.
Brillante played a one-two with last substitute Joey Gibbs, which saw Brillante set free down the right wing.
The Young Socceroo showed great pace to break clear of his marker, before swinging in a pin-point cross to Gibbs, who calmly poked the ball past the on-rushing Theo to give the Jets an unassailable 2-0 lead.
Brisbane Roar 0
Newcastle Jets 2 (Donachie OG 34’, Gibbs 87’)