Jets shock Roar 4-0
Photo Source: AAP
Newcastle have announced themselves as A-League finals contenders with a persuasive 4-0 trouncing of perennial powerhouse Brisbane, in a rudderless Roar performance slammed by coach John Aloisi as the worst he's seen.
Three second-half goals in 24 minutes dismantled one of last season's semi-finalists, who had the share of possession at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday but too often lacked an accurate pass or finishing touch.
Young winger Andrew Nabbout was the star of the show, playing a part in most attacking raids and notching an assist for Devante Clut, who completed the rout in the 86th minute.
It was a rare clean sheet for the Jets, who were defensively sturdy despite the absence of key players Daniel Mullen and Jason Hoffman.
Jones, parachuted into the job a fortnight before the season started, was ecstatic as his side made an early case for finals after six seasons in the doldrums.
"You can't not be happy after that, it was magnificent," Jones said.
"But more importantly we had a clean sheet, which was the goal of the day and we achieved that."
Clut's straightforward strike on his 21st birthday followed goals from Jets captain Nigel Boogaard and Olyroo Steven Ugarkovic, and a disastrous Roar own goal that started the visitors' rot inside eight minutes.
Jack Hingert intercepted Nabbout's cross and attempted to clear, only to poke the ball past goalkeeper Michael Theo.
Hingert had done his best to stop the damage after a poor pass out of defence from last weekend's hero Luke DeVere gave Newcastle a wide opening.
Brett Holman looked for an immediate reply, feeding Jamie Maclaren an excellent pass that the striker nipped wide, while Tommy Oar would have scored from outside the box had young gloveman Jack Duncan not stretched a fingertip to lift it onto the crossbar.
But Newcastle were buoyed by their unexpected lead and stroked the ball around with confidence.
Nabbout marauded down the right and dribbled into the box to strike just wide of Theo's goal.
But it was defender Boogaard who doubled the advantage in the second half, heading home a curling Ben Kantarovski cross for his fifth career goal and first since joining the Jets at the start of last year.
As the Roar descended into a state of apathy, Ugarkovic made the lead unassailable, pouncing on a poor clearance attempt by Corey Brown and dinking a low, firm left-footed strike.
For good measure, Nabbout entered the box again, drew Theo out and slid the ball to Clut who strolled into an empty net.
"That's definitely the worst I've seen the team play," a visibly disappointed Aloisi said.
"They looked dangerous, we didn't.
"They looked like they had the bit between their teeth, we didn't.
"We didn't turn up."