An Apostolos Stamatelopoulos’ late winner helped lift the Newcastle Jets out of the A-League basement on Thursday night.
The Hunter club’s 2-1 triumph over Melbourne City left Melbourne Victory to collect their first ever wooden spoon.
City looked set to finish its maiden trophy-winning season in style when Stefan Colakovski fired the newly-crowned Premiers into a ninth-minute lead.
But, the resilient Jets fought back through 16-year-old midfielder Archie Goodwin’s stunning equaliser and a last-gasp Stamatelopoulos glancing header.
Head coach Patrick Kisnorbo made two changes from City’s previous game, with Andrew Nabbout and Colakovski brought in to bolster their attack in the absence of Socceroos call-up Jamie Maclaren.
And, the 21-year-old bagged his second A-League goal to get the table-toppers off to a flier at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
Despite City controlling with their free-flowing possession approach, this match showed the first signs it would not go to script.
In the 23rd minute teen sensation Goodwin levelled the scores with a thunderous 25-yard curling effort to record his inaugural senior goal and become the second youngest goalscorer in A-League history, after Adelaide United’s Mohamed Toure.
Newcastle battled valiantly to stay in the game and those efforts set the stage for substitute Stamatelopoulos, who replaced Goodwin in the 79th minute, to net his third of the season.
This allowed the Jets to clinch their fifth victory in 26 games, ensuring Craig Deans’ side finished in 11th place, avoiding the ignominious wooden spoon.
Injury worries to Rostyn Griffiths and Nabbout will present City with some concern ahead of their semi-final a week on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the Navy Blue half of Melbourne were condemned to bottom spot for their first time in their history following Victory’s worst-ever haul of 21 points – two fewer than last season’s club record low tally.
- By Samuel Green