The Hunter Ports Newcastle Jets defeated Melbourne Victory 1-0 in a pre-season trial match played behind closed doors at AAMI Park on Wednesday afternoon.
James Virgili’s second-half penalty secured the Jets’ second win against A-League opposition in the space of five days.
Neither side was able to break the deadlock during a fiercely contested first half, which saw challenges flying in from both sets of players.
However, shortly after the interval, Virgili continued his rich vein of scoring form during the pre-season, putting the Jets ahead from the penalty spot after he was brought down in the box by Victory defender Adrian Leijer.
The only sour note for the Jets was a suspected medial ligament strain suffered by marquee striker Emile Heskey.
Heskey was replaced on 23 minutes by Joey Gibbs after being injured in a strong challenge from Nick Ansell.
Heskey will have scans on his left knee to determine the extent of the injury tomorrow, but Jets head coach Gary van Egmond said the early diagnosis indicates the former England international will be sidelined for three to four weeks.
“It was a little bit strange because it was a pre-season game and the referee may have lost control a bit early on, which probably didn’t help things,” van Egmond said.
“Players on both teams are pushing for places and want to be part of the beginning of the season, so it becomes very competitive and you get those sorts of things.”
Nathan Burns was a late withdrawal from the Jets’ line-up due to suffering a hamstring strain during the warm-up. Burns will be assessed further by the Jets’ medical staff in the coming days.
Van Egmond said he was happy with the Jets’ efforts against a near full-strength Victory line-up.
“They’re a good footballing side Melbourne Victory and I think they controlled the mainstay of the game, but we made some adjustments in the second half and once we did that we were a lot better off,” van Egmond said.
Van Egmond said that while he wouldn’t read too much into Wednesday’s result, it was pleasing to back up last Saturday’s trial match win over Sydney FC with another good result against Melbourne.
“It’s good for the confidence and it’s always nice to win,” van Egmond said.
“Winning is a habit and that’s something we want to continue and take into the beginning of the season.”
The Newcastle Jets’ next pre-season trial match is set to take place against Central Coast Mariners at Scully Park in Tamworth on Sunday, September 29.