Victory Aims To Keep Jets Grounded

Picture: Paul Miller/AAP
Archie Thompson scored the winner against Heart. Image courtesy of Paul Miller/AAP
Newcastle and Melbourne Victory first met this season in round 4 with the Jets coming out on top with a 2-1 win at Hunter Stadium thanks to an Emile Heskey double. The win marked the high point of Newcastle’s season, while that loss sparked an eight-game run for Melbourne in which it has collected 17 of a possible 24 competition points.

Victory had no right to take all three points from the Melbourne derby with Heart on Saturday night, but after their rivals had created most of the chances in the second half, Archie Thompson pounced to slot home the winner late in injury time to seal a memorable 2-1 win .

Prior to the weekend’s 2-1 win over close rival Sydney FC, Newcastle’s last win was back at the start of November. The victory catapulted Gary van Egmond’s side three points clear of the chasing pack after a spot in the top six. Exciting winger James Virgili was, in part, responsible for both of the Jets’ goals at the weekend, and against a defence which has leaked like a sieve at times this season, he could cause Victory’s back four difficulties. 

That being said, Newcastle has its own problems at the back, having conceded an average of just under two goals per game. In fact, the Jets are still yet to keep a clean sheet in twelve matches this season. Melbourne’s strike force of Thompson, young gun Andrew Nabbout and midfield trio Mark Milligan, Marco Rojas and Marcos Flores wreak havoc.

Melbourne has won the past three clashes at AAMI Park, including a 2-1 win last season. Victory has only gone down in one game at home this campaign, and that was the opening night loss to fierce rival Melbourne Heart. 

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