Josh Brillante and Adam Taggart combined to give Newcastle Jets a nice home win on Saturday at the Hunter Stadium and break Melbourne Heart's seven-game unbeaten streak. Following five straight wins, Heart finally came back to earth and were denied the chance to move into seventh place.
Jonatan Germano nearly gave Heart the lead in the first half but his overhead kick went off the post, saving Mark Birighitti blushes after an awkward sequence. David Williams squandered another Heart chance just after halftime after another Birighitti mistake. Those misses came back to hurt the visitors in the 53rd minute when Brillante's marauding run culminated in a cross to Taggart. The Jets' top scorer knocked in his shot on the half-volley for his league-leading eleventh goal. Though Newcastle could not score again, they controlled the remainder of the game and saw off Heart for three big points.
Now in seventh place again, and just a point behind Central Coast Mariners, the Jets will have a nice opportunity to make the jump back into a finals position when they play their F3 Derby rivals in Gosford on Saturday March 15. Central Coast will be hosting Sanfrecce Hiroshima midweek in the Champions League so the Jets will have no excuses when the derby comes. For Heart, the streak had to end eventually. They will look to start a new one in hosting Wellington Phoenix at AAMI Park on Sunday March 16.
NEW Taggart (Brillante) 53'
Newcastle Jets: Birighitti; Gallaway, Mitchell, Jaliens, Brillante; Caravella, Zadkovich; Goodwin, Taggart, Hoole; Heskey
Unused substitutes: Kennedy, Carney, Kantarovski, Oxborrow, Gibbs
Melbourne Heart: Redmayne; Behich, Kisnorbo, Wielaert, Hoffman; Germano, Murdocca; Ramsay, Engelaar, Dugandzic; Williams
Unused substitutes: Velaphi, Kewell, Gerhardt, Kalmar, Garuccio