Victory jumped out to a three-goal lead at half-time and cruised home after the break to move up to third place on the A-League table
|By MICHAEL HUGUENIN
A blistering opening 15 minutes from Melbourne Victory has seen Ange Postecoglou's side defeat Newcastle Jets 5-0 to move into third spot in the A-League.
In front of an uncharacteristically quiet AAMI Park crowd, Victory jumped out to a three-goal lead at half-time against an undermanned Newcastle team with Marco Rojas and Adrian Leijer scoring the first two goals in the opening quarter of an hour.
A pair of Mark Milligan penalties either side of the break, plus Rojas' brilliant second goal, ensured Melbourne equalled their best result against the Jets, who had central defender Taylor Regan sent off in the second half.
Sunday's victory reaffirmed Victory's championship credentials, ending a three-game losing streak and sending them above Adelaide United and into third position in the A-League with 39 points.
Victory's fan groups of the North Terrace staged a silent protest in the first half to express their disappointment with a perceived lack of support from the club's administration in regards to their claims of over-zealous security and police forces at AAMI Park, as well as media bias when reporting crowd trouble in the A-League.
The first decent cheer from the crowd came, therefore, in the eighth minute when Archie Thompson, who was making his return from injury, controlled a loose ball in the centre circle and, almost without looking, played a through ball down the middle to Rojas.
The 21-year-old New Zealander burst away from his marker and slotted the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Newcastle manager Gary van Egmond made four changes from the team that knocked off Wellington Phoenix 2-1 on Wednesday, resting veteran forwards Emile Heskey and Michael Bridges, while Zenon Caravella and Sam Gallaway were out with hamstring injuries.
The ramifications of Van Egmond's decision became clear in the 15th minute when Melbourne skipper Leijer scored his first goal of the season, getting free from Regan to power his a corner home with his head.
Victory were in control and looked to have made it 3-0 soon after when Daniel Mullen headed a corner into the net but referee Jarred Gillett awarded a free-kick to Newcastle for off-the-ball contact from Milligan on Jets captain Ruben Zadkovich.
The disallowed goal seemed to halt Victory's momentum but after a couple of half-chances to Newcastle striker Adam Taggart, the home team made it 3-0 in the 29th minute thanks to Milligan's first penalty.
Thompson won the penalty after receiving a pass from Connor Pain and then bamboozling Regan, who copped a yellow card for tripping the Socceroos striker in the box, before Milligan drilled the spot-kick.
After a lacklustre end to the first half, Victory leapt out of the blocks after the break with the North Terrace roaring them on in full voice.
Pain hit the post as Melbourne peppered Newcastle's goal before Milligan made it 4-0.
Regan conceded his second penalty of the match in the 56th minute, receiving his marching orders for two yellow cards after he dragged down Mullen in the penalty area, before Milligan again made the spot-kick look easy.
Rojas grabbed his second goal after the hour mark with a sublime piece of skill. Scott Galloway passed to the Kiwi attacker, who spun past two Jets defenders and then glided around Newcastle goalkeeper Mark Birighitti to tap the ball into the empty net.
Victory had chances to equal their best-ever win, the 6-0 triumph in the 2006-07 grand final against Adelaide United, but failed to convert and had to settle for matching their 5-0 thumping of the Jets from the 2008-09 season.