JASON Hoffman broke his scoring duck with a goal that sent Newcastle Jets into the knockout stage of the Asian Champions League.
His first half strike was enough to give his side a 1-0 win over Korean club Ulsan Hyundai despite a spirited attack by the home side as they searched for an equaliser in the second half.
But poor finishing and some good keeping by young shotstopper Ben Kennedy kept the Jets in pole position and earned a place in the latter stages of the competition, just the second Australian club to make it that far despite their recent troubled off-field activitivies.
The win means the Australian side finish second in Group E and will return to Korea on June 24 to play Pohang Steelers in the last 16.
The hosts had the first real chance of the game in the 14th minute when Cho Jin-soo picked up a pass on the edge of the area and turned his marker but curled his shot wide.
Newcastle had clearly set their stall out for a draw but such a tactic threatened to prove their undoing as Slavcho played a decent pass for Cho in the 26th minute but the forward was denied pulling the trigger at the last second.
But Ulsan's qualification hopes were dealt a blow when the Jets took the lead against the run of play in the 36th minute.
Fabio Vignaroli picked up a pass on the left flank and wrong-footed a defender before whipping a dangerous cross into the area that Jason Hoffman provided the deftest of flicks off his head to direct the ball into the back of the net.
Kim Shin-wook headed over the bar four minutes after the break as Ulsan looked to make an early response at the start of the second half before Ben Kennedy pulled off a fine reaction save to deny Almir's strong header in the 55th minute.
Slavcho then directed a header on the crossbar as Ulsan continued to press for an equaliser before the Macedonian's deflected effort landed on the roof of the net in the 68th minute.
The hosts threw everything at the Jets as the game entered the closing stages and Kennedy again rescued his side late on when he dived low to deny substitute Lee Dong-keun's drive.
That proved to be the last chance for either side as the Jets defended well to secure the win and their place in the knockout stages.