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ALM: Jets celebrate first victory of Stanton era

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The Newcastle Jets snared its first A-League Men’s (ALM) victory for Rob Stanton at the weekend… and there was no prouder man than the coach himself.

With two draws and a loss under their belt to open 2023/24, the Hunter outfit claimed an important 1-0 win at the expense of Western United at Mars Stadium on Saturday 11 November.

Again, in-form striker Apostolos Stamatelopoulos proved the difference between the two sides, slotting home his fourth goal of the season just before the break.

Match-winner Apostolos Stamatelopoulos. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

The triumph lifted Newcastle to sixth on the table, pending other results.

“I’m super proud of them, the whole team,” Stanton said.

“Although, they kept me on the edge of my seat during the latter stages of the match.

“But, it was a collective effort in defence, which pleased me.

“I thought some of the younger guys stood up and led the way [today].

“It’s a young backline.

“I believe the average age is about 23, so they’re going to grow.

“They’ll gain experience each round… they’ll start making better decisions and deal better with pressure situations.

“That’s what we want, to improve as a group.”

Thankfully, Stamatelopoulos returned to haunt his former club – and was well-supported by Ryan Scott, Mark Natta, Lucas Mauragis, Trent Buhagiar and Clayton Taylor.

After making 12 appearances for Western in 2019/20, his strike one minute before half-time was crucial.

United substitute Nikita Rukavytsya thought he equalised late in the game, however he was ruled offside.

So, it went down to the wire.

“Anytime you get three points away from home is really good,” Stanton said.

“I’m happy with that because it’s always difficult, especially coming to Ballarat.

“It was quite windy, and the conditions were extremely hard for both sides, especially in the first half.

“But, more importantly, we got a clean sheet as well.

“So, I think we deserve that win.

“We’ve worked extremely hard in recent weeks.

“Now, the first one’s (victory) in the bank, we’ll focus on the next assignment.”

The Jets host long-time rivals Central Coast Mariners in the F3 Derby on 25 November following the international break.

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