A hat-trick to James Virgili has propelled the Newcastle Jets to an entertaining 6-3 win over the AIS in their Round 5 Foxtel National Youth League match at Wanderers Oval, Newcastle on Saturday morning.
Virgili was a class above with his pace and skill posing a constant threat as the Jets outplayed their younger opponents in the first half to take a well deserved 3-1 lead into the break.
The AIS come out with more fire after the interval and took the game to the hosts, pulling back the deficit with a pair of impressive goals to Anthony Kalik before the Jets sealed the match as Virgili bagged his third with Kale Bradbery and Joey Gibbs also netting goals.
The AIS opened the scoring against the run of play in the 12th minute when Alexander Gersbach got away down the left flank and crossed a lovely ball into the box where striker Dylan Smith finished into the top corner.
The Jets were on level terms just two minutes later when Michael Finlayson swung a dangerous corner into the box where Virgili nodded home at the back post.
Virgili had his second goal five minutes later when he used his pace to get on the outside of defender Matthew Schmidt before powering into the box and unleashing a bullet-like shot that beat AIS goalkeeper Jordan Thurtell at the near post.
Newcastle had their third goal within the first 20 minutes when Mitchell Oxborrow swung a delightful corner over a crowded penalty area and into the far corner of the net.
With all the momentum in their favour, the Jets continued to pepper the AIS goal with Virgili, Bradbery and Gibbs seeing on-target shots well saved by some desperate work from Thurtell as the home side took a 3-1 lead into half-time.
The AIS came out with more purpose in the second half and they managed to pull a goal back when attacking midfielder Kalik finished off an impressive movement through the middle by deftly chipping Jets custodian Adam Pearce to make it 3-2 after 57 minutes.
Newcastle restored their two-goal advantage on the hour-mark when Virgili won the ball in a challenge on the half-way and sprinted into space, drawing Thurtell before sliding a pass to Bradbery who slotted into an open net.
Virgili got his hat-trick in almost identical fashion as the previous goal when Bradbery was put in a one-on-one with Thurtell before he turned provider with a side pass to Virgili who stroked home from 10 metres out.
To their credit the AIS continued to press hard and they were rewarded for their endeavour when Kalik snared his second when he volleyed home from the edge of the area to make it 5-3 with 13 minutes to play.
The Jets made it six when Bradbery again went one-on-one with Thurtell before being pulled down in the box by the AIS 'keeper, who was shown a red card for his indiscretion.
Gibbs netted from the spot to complete impressive back-to-back wins for the Newcastle side.
Newcastle Jets 6
Virgili 12, 17, 73, Oxborrow 20, Bradbery 60, Gibbs 90+3pen
Smith 12, Kalik 57, 75
Adam Pearce, 2. Michael Finalyson, 3. Thomas Whiteside, 4. Reece Papadimitrios, 5. Willis Nadfalusi (13. Matthew Bilic 55min), 6. Mitchell Oxborrow, 7. James Virgili, 8. Michael Kantarovski (capt) (12. Andrew Pawiak 60min), 9. Kale Bradbery, 10. Joe Gibbs, 11. Radovan Pacicevic (14. Thomas Waller 60min)
20 John Solari (GK)
Jordan Thurtell, 2. Darcy Maden, 3. Brendan Gonano (23. Rocco Pizzata 31min), 4. Benjamin Warland (9. Todd Norris 36min), 10. Dylan Smith, (6. Matthew Ntoumenopoulos 46min), 11. Marc Marino, (30. Lucas Spinella (GK) 90+3), 12. Mark Ochieng, 17. Anthony Kalik, 18. Alex Gersbach.