Victory ends Newcastle hoodoo

Melbourne Victory has fought back from a goal down to win its first match at EnergyAustralia Stadium since 2006, in an entertaining 3-1 triumph over the Newcastle Jets in Round 11 of the Hyundai A-League on Sunday.


Melbourne Victory has fought back from a goal down to win its first match at EnergyAustralia Stadium since 2006, in an entertaining 3-1 triumph over the Newcastle Jets in Round 11 of the Hyundai A-League on Sunday.

Melbourne went behind in the 22nd minute courtesy of a fine effort from Labinot Haliti, however rallied to produce a strong second-half display to leave the Hunter with all three points.

Archie Thompson restored parity for the visiting Victory just after the hour with a delicate chip over the onrushing Ben Kennedy having been supplied by Carlos Hernandez, with Tom Pondeljak and Hernandez himself scoring the goals that secured the win in the 78th and 84th minutes respectively.

Indeed, Pondeljak's effort was largely set up by the instrumental Costa Rican international, the midfielder launching a powerful drive which Kennedy could only manage to palm onto the crossbar.

The ball fell kindly for wily winger Pondeljak, who had the simplest of tasks to finish into an unguarded net.

After making two assists, Hernandez made sure he'd leave Newcastle with one of his own, firing a low drive under Kennedy from an acute angle.

With Archie Thompson returning the favour by playing Hernandez through, the midfielder showed a burst of speed to ensure he beat Kennedy to the ball before finishing clinically under the advancing shot-stopper.

In truth, it was Newcastle which enjoyed the better of the opening 45 minutes, and this showed on the scoreboard as it took a one-goal lead to the break.

Having scored against Melbourne last time the two teams met at Etihad Stadium, Haliti ran into a great hole after a pass from Tarek Elrich.

With Glen Moss advancing, the attacker lifted the ball over the Kiwi keeper to hand the Jets a dream start.

Urged on by its home support, Newcastle continued to press with former Victory player Kaz Patafta, Englishman Michael Bridges and Haliti looking especially dangerous.

Yet, for their entire first-half endeavour the Jets couldn't make Victory pay, and the Champions came out from the sheds at half-time with an entirely different mindset.

Mentor Ernie Merrick tinkered with the side, adding the youthful Mate Dugandzic in favour of Ney Fabiano at the break, with Leigh Broxham also coming on for Surat Sukha later in the half.

Nathan Elasi enjoyed a 10-minute cameo to finish the game.

But it was the experience of star trio Archie Thompson, Pondeljak and especially Hernandez that won the day for Victory, as the Melbournians returned to the winners list in emphatic fashion.

Newcastle Jets 1 (Haliti 22) Melbourne Victory 3 (Thompson 61, Pondeljak 78, Hernandez 84)