Report: Sheppard goal not enough in Melbourne


Not one to let an opportunity pass him by, Kaine Sheppard came on late and changed the game for Newcastle.

Ultimately, it wasn’t enough as Victory scored twice to secure a 2-1 win over the Jets on Saturday night.

It’s a defeat which leaves the Jets seven points adrift of the top six, but with half a season left to play there’s still plenty of time for Newcastle to charge into consecutive finals appearances.

Ernie Merrick had made the decision to switch to three at the back in order to counter the strengths of Victory’s strikers, and it was a choice that looked to be paying off throughout the first half.

Newcastle had a good chance in the opening minutes of the match after winning a free kick in a good area. Dimi Petratos floated it in, and Roy O’Donovan tried an overhead kick but it went just wide.

It was a first half which was nothing if not even, with few chances coming at either end and not enough quality from either side in front of goal to make what little came along count.

The second half kicked off in the worst possible fashion for the Jets, after Terry Antonis got Victory on the board in the 48th minute with a curling strike from outside the area.

Johnny Koutroumbis Melbourne Victory

Determined to win out over his old side, Daniel Georgievski did his best to pull things level and forced Lawrence Thomas into a fantastic save after his thunderous, goal-bound strike from outside the 18-yard box.

Jair had a golden chance in the 66th minute after some brilliant work from Steven Ugarkovic teed up the Brazillian, but he couldn’t his feet around it and the shot wasn’t there.

A pair of subs with around fifteen minutes to go saw Angus Thurgate and Kaine Sheppard injected into the match, a decision which would fast pay off as the Jets drew level.

The goal came through Sheppard, who was first on the scene after a Matt Ridenton shot took a deflection and fell inside the area. His first effort was blocked, but the Englishman steered home his second to make it 1-1.

The lead wasn’t to last long though, with James Troisi firing home from an acute angle in the 84th minute to restore the advantage for Victory.

The Jets had a chance late in the piece, with Kaine Sheppard teed up inside the area but Angus Thurgate. He wasn’t able to get enough on the shot though, and it trickled wide of the post and out for a goal kick.

Melbourne Victory 2 (Antonis 48′, Troisi 84′) def. Newcastle Jets 1 (Sheppard 78′)
Saturday 12 January, 7.50pm at AAMI Park