Reigning champions Melbourne Victory defeated Newcastle Jets 2-1 in their second meeting since last season’s decider.
The Victory were looking to bounce back after being brushed aside by Adelaide during the week, while the time the Jets were in Melbourne, they went down to Victory’s rivals Melbourne City.
Kevin Muscat’s side did bounce back from their shock midweek defeat, but it was a far from convincing display.
After a goalless first half in which the Jets could have taken the lead early through Roy O’Donovan, Terry Antonis opened the scoring by applying the finishing touch to a delicate team-move involving James Troisi and Kenny Athiu minutes after the restart.
It looked as if the Victory would see the game out at 1–0, although substitute Kaine Sheppard had other ideas as he made an immediate impact off the bench by equalising in the 78th minute.
Troisi would have the last laugh though, as the midfielder created a yard of space in the area to rifle the ball past Italiano at his near post, as Victory bounced back, but more importantly closed the gap to leaders Perth at the top.
Lawrence Thomas – 7
Was very alert in the first few minutes to deny Roy O’Donovan but also looked very alert for the rest of the first period. Just about got his hand on a fierce effort from Daniel Georgievski.
Storm Roux – 6
Not as prevalent an outlet as Corey Brown but still was able to link up with Terry Antonis frequently all night.
Leigh Broxham – 6
Adjusted very well in recent weeks as a makeshift centre-back but Kevin Muscat will still prefer to have his other options available again.
Thomas Deng – 6.5
Looked comfortable yet again, although struggled at times with O’Donovan’s clever movement.
Corey Brown – 6.5
Was the main outlet for Victory in a stagnant first half display. His influence dropped off after halftime but overall the former Brisbane man was much improved from a horror show in Adelaide.