A brace to winger Andrew Hoole and a clinical finish from second half substitute Devante Clut helped Newcastle Jets to a 3-2 win over Chinese Super League side Liaoning Whowin FC on Saturday.
Hoole, who returned to the Jets after a season with Sydney FC, and Clut who joined the Hunter outfit from Brisbane Roar were both impressive.
But it took untl the second stanza for the game to spring to life when substitute Clut fired a sweet strike beyond Liaoning custodian Zhang Zhengqiang in the 47th minute to give Scott Miller’s side the lead.
Newcastle’s advantage didn’t last long, though, as Liaoning replied through Wang Liang just four minutes later. Wang's volley took a deflection off Jets midfielder Wayne Brown before nestling in the back of the net.
But the Jets regained the advantage when young marksman Kristian Brymora did well to earn a penalty for the team, which was converted by Hoole on 66 minutes.
Urged on by the partisan crowd, Liaoning restored parity in the 77th minute when the speedy Lei Yongchi burst forward and sent an angled finish beyond goalkeeper Jack Duncan.
But Newcastle weren’t to be denied in their first game in China since 2009, and it was Hoole who grabbed the winner. After cutting in from the left he unleashed a powerful, low right foot effort to beat Zhang.
Post-match Miller said the timing and location of the win was apt.
“I think it’s significant with the new owner being Chinese that we have our first win in China,” Miller said.
“I think it’s a great start for everyone now and I think it will really help the team bond and our process here.
“I have been very pleased up to date in terms of our [pre-season] performances but I think what you saw today was a different mentality with key players and individuals like Andrew Hoole taking the game and actually having a really good impact.
“It’s exciting times for the Newcastle Jets - not only with new ownership but also the potential the group that this group has got.
“There was a determination and a resilience in the team tonight and we spoke about it in the dressing room. If we’re going to be successful in the A-League this season we’re going to have to be very resilient and determined in our efforts.”
Newcastle Jets will travel to Shenyang on Sunday afternoon before flying to Shenzhen on Monday. On Wednesday Miller’s squad will challenge Eastern SC from the Hong Kong Premier League at the Boa’an Stadium, before backing up 48 hours later against Kitchee SC from the same league at the same venue. Both games kick-off at 4:30pm local time (6:30pm AEST).
Liaoning Whowin FC 2 (Wang Liang 55’, Lei Yongchi 77’)
Newcastle Jets 3 (Devante Clut 47’, Andrew Hoole 66’ (pen), 88’)
Venue: Huludao City Stadium, Huludao, China
Official Attendance: 19,019
Newcastle Jets FC: 2. Daniel Mullen, 3. Jason Hoffman, 6. Steven Ugarkovic, 7. Andrew Hoole, 9. Aleksandr Kokko (24. Kristian Brymora 20’ (34. Cameron Joice 88’), 10. Wayne Brown, 15. Andrew Nabbout (26. Ma Leilei 62’), 16. Nicholas Cowburn, 19. Morten Nordstrand (23. Devante Clut 46’), 20. Jack Duncan (Gk), 22. Lachlan Jackson
Substitutes not used: 1. Ben Kennedy (Gk), 25. Cody Carroll,
Yellow cards: Nil