MARK Jones waited 15 years to coach the Newcastle Jets. It took the proud Novocastrian just two games to win his first game in charge.
And what a way to do it.
A week after holding champions Adelaide to a draw, the Jets stunned perennial powerhouse Brisbane Roar 4-0 at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
“I thought we could win the game, but to score four was magnificent,” Jones said. “More importantly we recorded a clean sheet, which was the goal for the day.”
An own-goal by Roar defender Jack Hingert in the eighth minute, and second-half efforts by Nigel Bogaard (62nd), Steven Ugarkovic (68th) and Devante Clut (86th) sent the 8355 home faithful into raptures and propelled the Jets into third place.
Jones, handed the job a fortnight before season kick-off, thought his side had done enough to get three points against the Reds. There would be no denying them this time.
“There was lot of doubt put in their mind, with the change of coaches and all sort of things that have gone on and the history,” Jones said. “I’ve never bought into that. I can in as an assistant when we were dead last [after 7 rounds in 2005-06] and we ended up coming third.”
Boasting a front four of Andrew Nabbout, Morten Nordstrand, Wayne Brown and Andrew Hoole, the home side always looked dangerous in attack. But it was the defence which stood tall. Marshaled superbly by skipper Boogaard, they were composed, hustled when required and closed down.
The Roar had 63% of possession but could only manufacture one shot on target, a stinging effort from 20 metres by Tom Oar, which Jack Duncan tipped over the crossbar.
“We thought if were defensively sound, we would score goals on the counter,” Jones said. “I don’t think they were bad, we just worked very hard to get back behind the ball. It is hard to penetrate if we get back and are compact.”
The Jets went ahead in the eighth minute thanks to a bit of help from the visitors. Nabbout, who was outstanding, swooped on a loose pass, shook off a tackle by Jacob Pepper and fired in a cross intended for Morten Nordstrand. With the Dane on his outside Hingert lunged at the ball, but managed only to turn it into his own goal.
With the game slipping away Roar coach John Aloisi introduced Thomas Broich at the hour mark. Two minutes later, the Jets doubled the margin. Andrew Hoole over-cooked a corner which Ben Kantarovski knocked into the box. The Roar defence were on their heels as Boogaard climbed above De Vere. From there it became a party.
Ugarkovic drilled an angled shot into the bottom right corner after the Roar failed to clear, before 21st birthday boy Devante Clut tapped in after a run and cross from Nabbout.
Roar coach John Aloisi didn’t mask his disappointment.
“There was nothing positive out of today, nothing positive at all,” he said.