Victory back on track

Melbourne Victory picked up their fourth win of the Hyundai A-League season on Saturday courtesy of a 2-1 victory at home to 10-man Newcastle Jets.

Melbourne Victory picked up their fourth win of the Hyundai A-League season on Saturday courtesy of a 2-1 victory at home to 10-man Newcastle Jets.

A master class from the veteran trio of Carlos Hernandez, Archie Thompson and Danny Allsopp proved too much for the visitors, who had Tarek Elrich sent off for denying a goal scoring opportunity seven minutes into the second half.

With newly unveiled interim coach Jim Magilton watching from the stands, Hernandez wound back the clock to torment the Jets, who conceded two own-goals, one in each half, from the boot of defender Sung-Hwan Byun.

The opening goal capped off a frantic start to the match, with Newcastle enjoying the first chance through Ryan Griffiths.

The wide man was denied at close range by goalkeeper Ante Covic in the second minute, and Victory were forced to clear again at the back post less than 60 seconds later.

From the same passage of play Harry Kewell threaded a pinpoint pass to Allsopp, putting the striker in behind the Newcastle defence, but he was unable to find Thompson in a dangerous position.

For the next opportunity Thompson turned provider, dispossessing Tiago inside the visitors' half and putting Hernandez through on goal, but an on-rushing Ben Kantarovski did enough to block the shot.

A minute later, Victory made the breakthrough.

Kewell collected a ball over the top from Fabio and did well to hold off Elrich, before whipping in a low cross to the centre of the Newcastle penalty area.

Centre-back Byun got to the ball ahead of a sliding Allsopp, put could only succeed in turning the delivery into his own net.

The breathless nature of the contest slowed following the opener, and it took until the 22nd minute for the next real sight of goal to arrive, when Covic was forced to tip a Griffiths header over the bar.

Thompson proved a danger for Victory throughout the half, twice cutting in from the left before shooting at goal.

Newcastle had to rely on the post to keep out of his first attempt, and Kewell was also a threat from wide positions.

The Jets meanwhile went close again through Griffiths and Jesic, but Covic and the Victory defence proved equal to the task.

While Newcastle held their own early in the second half, the turning point arrived on 52 minutes.

A perfectly-weighted through-ball from Hernandez allowed Allsopp to beat the offside trap and advance on goal, forcing Elrich to intervene.

The Jets defender appeared to take the man before the ball, leaving referee Peter Green with no option but to brandish a straight red card.

Heavy pressure from the home side ensued, with first Petar Franjic and then Thompson denied from close range headers.

A second goal appeared inevitable and it duly arrived with 18 minutes remaining.

Hernandez conjured up another masterful pass to play in Thompson, who attempted to square for Allsopp in the centre of the box.

Once again, Byun intervened, inadvertently guiding the ball beyond a helpless Ben Kennedy and into the Newcastle net.

The undermanned Jets could have been forgiven at that point for writing off the match as a lost cause.

But the visitors made sure of a nervy finish when Griffiths pulled one back on 84 minutes.

The goal came courtesy of a well-weighted cross from Byun, who went some way to redeeming himself for his earlier sins.

Despite the Jets' best efforts, they were unable to trouble the Victory goal again in injury time, leaving Kevin Muscat and his players to celebrate as they prepare to embark on a new adventure under Magilton.