The Newcastle Jets have defeated the Wellington Phoenix 3-1 in an eventful QR National Cup match at Thomas and Coffey Park in Weston on Saturday night.
Four players were red carded and the Jets had to come from 1-0 down to secure the two-goal victory.
On his return to Newcastle, Jeremy Brockie had the first genuine chance of the match, after Benjamin Totori picked him out with a ball cut back across the face of goal. However, Brockie was unable to make meaningful contact and his shot was cleared.
The Jets replied with some nice interplay on the edge of the area that ended with James Brown firing off a low shot that was easily saved by Mark Paston.
Shortly after, the Jets had another opportunity after Neville stole the ball from Totori deep in Wellington’s half. However, Neville couldn’t pick out Adam Taggart who was waiting unmarked in the six-yard box and the Phoenix were able to clear the danger.
The Jets were made to pay for the missed opportunity when Neville was dispossessed by Paul Ifill. Ifill’s cross from the left picked out the run of Alex Smith who stabbed the ball home at the back post to make it 1-0.
The match was tuned on its head midway through the first half when Tiago Calvano committed a hard foul to bring down Manny Muscat. Muscat retaliated by throwing a punch as both players lay on the ground, sparking an altercation between both teams.
Calvano and Muscat were both sent off as a result, while Ben Sigmund was also red-carded.
The Jets capitalised on their one-man advantage to level the scores just before half time. Craig Goodwin beat his man on the left edge of the box and fired a low shot across the goalkeeper that found the bottom corner of the net.
The Jets hit the front shortly after the break with Goodwin again on target. The left-back hit a powerful shot from 25 metres out that swerved late and wrong-footed Paston before finding the back of the net.
Adam Taggart hit the crossbar minutes later before things went from bad to worse for the Phoenix.
Wellington captain Andrew Durante was sent off for retaliating to a tackle from Scott Neville. Neville was yellow carded for the challenge.
Now playing against eight men, the Jets controlled possession and after a number of near misses, eventually found their third goal through Marko Jesic who was one of a number of players subbed on midway through the second half.
Virgili worked his way into the box, but had the ball knocked away by a Wellington defender. Luckily for the Jets it spilled through to Jesic who made no mistake from close range to make it 3-1.
Newcastle Jets 3 (Goodwin x2, Jesic)
Wellington Phoenix 1 (Alex Smith)