Melbourne Victory 2 Newcastle Jets 1
Melbourne Victory gave newly appointed head coach Jim Magilton a welcome present with a hard-fought two-one win over Newcastle Jets courtesy of two own goals by the same Jets player and the sending off of one of his colleagues.
Kevin Muscat was caretaker in charge for Victory. Skipper Adrian Leijer did not make the squad and Danny Allsopp started along with Grant Brebner in a 4-3-2-1 formation.
The Jets had Tiago Calvano back in defence and twenty-year-old Jacob Pepper kept his spot.
Victory got a flying start. Fabio put Kewell away down the left and his low driven cross found Danny Allsopp and Sung-Hwan Byun sliding in on goal and the ball flew into the net off the Newcastle defender in the 7th minute.
Newcastle had a couple of good openings soon after as Jeremy Brockie set up Ryan Griffiths and his header was only just tipped away by Ante Covic for a corner.
Labinot Haliti also got clear and tested the keeper with a low shot.
Archie Thompson skinned Tiago Calvano and hit the outside of the post after 25 minutes. Later he had a back-heel which did not trouble the keeper.
The Jets were caught on the break in 54 minutes as Hernandez released Allsopp only for Tarek Elrich to trip him from behind on the edge of the penalty area.
Referee Shepheard drew a red card straight away, but Hernandez could not achieve a Broich free kick, because the Jets wall did not jump.
In 74th minute Hernandez found Thompson who held off Tiago Calvano and sprinted down the inside right line finishing with a low driven cross which the unlucky Byun once again hit into his own net.
It was an unfortunate episode, but the lad did not let his head drop.
The Korean international then broke down the right and crossed for a diving header by Ryan Griffiths which brought the Jets a slim hope of a draw,
Victory managed to play out time without conceding a goal, but it was not a convincing performance against ten men.
Gary van Egmond thought his team’s effort was praiseworthy, but suggested they had not been ruthless enough when they did have chances and he stressed that while he felt the Jets had controlled the game for long periods, they had not converted that into goals.
Kevin Muscat said that he learned that the job was harder than he thought it would be and that initially he was caught up in the emotion and jumping up and down, so that he appreciated that he had to relax in order to make effective decisions.
Danny Allsopp enjoyed the rare start and while his first touch was a bit heavy at times and he seems to have difficulty winning the ball in the air, he worked hard for the team as always and might easily have had a couple of goals of his own.
In the Victory press release earlier in the evening about the Magilton appointment, club chairman Anthony di Pietro said, ‘We gave Mehmet every opportunity to achieve success this season but we found we were inconsistent and without direction.’ The latter part of this quotation applied better to the board than the erstwhile coach. Sir Humphrey would have described the appointment of a foreign coach with no knowledge of the Australian game as a courageous decision. It does seem that the Board are going to take the same risk as they allow a coach to learn on the job, though Magilton has much managerial experience than his predecessor.
Melbourne Victory 2 (Sung-Hwan Byung own goals 7’, 74’) Newcastle Jets 1 (Ryan Griffiths 85’)
Saturday 7 January 2012
Venue: AAMI Park
Local Kick Off: 7.45 pm
Referee: Ryan Shepheard
Assistant Referees: Hakan Anaz and Matthew Cheeseman
Fourth Official: Lucien Laverdure
21.Ante Covic, 2.Matthew Foschini, 3.Fabio, 4.Petar Franjic, 6.Leigh Broxham, 8. Grant Brebner, 10. Archie Thompson 12. Rodrigo Vargas, 16.Carlos Hernandez (11.Marco Rojas 76’), 18. Danny Allsopp (19.Isaka Cernak 88’), 22.Harry Kewell (13.Diogo Ferreira 86’)
Unused substitutes: 20. Lawrence Thomas.
Yellow cards: Petar Franjic 12’, Danny Allsopp 81’, Leigh Broxham 90’
Red cards: Nil
1 Ben Kennedy, 2 Taylor Regan, 5 Iago Calvano, 6 Ben Kantarovski, 8 Jeremy Brockie (22 Ali Abbas 77’), 11 Tarek Elrich, 13 Sung-Hwan Byun, 14 Labinot Haliti (Michael Bridges 57’), 18 Marko Jesic (3 Mario Simic 57’), 23 Ryan Griffiths, 25 Jacob Pepper.
Unused substitutes: 19 Matthew Nash.
Yellow cards: Ben Kantarovski 36’, Mario Simic 90 + 4’
Red cards: Tarek Elrich 54