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2018/19 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Jair (22')
  • Joseph Champness (75')
  • Roy O'Donovan (79')
  • Jamie Maclaren (55')

Newcastle Jets produce shock win over Melbourne City

A severely below-strength Newcastle Jets stunned Melbourne City 3-1 at McDonald Jones Stadium to revive their A-League finals hopes.

Brazilian Jair put the Jets in front in the 22nd minute and City striker Jamie Maclaren equalised in the 55th when the visitors looked likely to go on with it.

However substitutes Joey Champness -- in just his second game of the season -- and Roy O'Donovan inspired a memorable Jets victory.

Jair won the ball off former Jet Riley McGree before putting O'Donovan into space. He found Champness who slotted home in the 75th minute and then the pair combined two minutes later with O'Donovan this time finding the back of the net.

The victory puts the Jets on 22 points, six points behind City and six points out of the top six with eight rounds remaining.

In the middle of a hectic schedule of A-League games and AFC Champions League qualifiers, the Jets made seven changes to the starting side that beat Indonesian club Persija Jakarta 3-1 after extra time on Tuesday night.

That win set up another qualifier with Kashima Antlers in Japan next Tuesday and coach Ernie Merrick rested several stars, including Dimi Petratos, Ronny Vargas and Nigel Boogaard on Friday night.

Not used in the 1-1 draw with Wellington in the previous round, and a bench player for the three matches prior, Jair gave the Jets a shock lead with a powerful header off a cross from Johnny Koutroumbis.

But Maclaren, who was just wide with a strike in the 14th minute, equalised via Luke Brattan's low cross through traffic.

City looked the more dangerous before the counter-attacking goals.

Goalkeeper Lewis Italiano was full stretch to stop Shayon Harrison's strike in the 54th minute and McGree headed over the bar in the 57th, misses that were to prove costly.

Merrick said he was pleased with the performance, especially considering the mass changes and a shift in style.

"The ability of the boys to change their style of play was first class," he said. "We only had one session on it. I said we're going to play very compact, defend our half and play a counter-attacking game.

"It's pretty boring but it'll work if we break quickly, and it worked for us."

City coach Warren Joyce blamed poor decision making rather than complacency for the setback. "I think we worked the ball around well, but we've gifted them three goals," he said.