Phoenix end losing streak with 3-0 win
Jeremy Brockie certainly left a mark upon his return to Newcastle today.
The Wellington Phoenix striker - who starred for the Jets last season - scored two goals in a 3-0 win to snap his club's three-game losing streak, while his knee fractured the cheekbone of Newcastle goalkeeper Mark Birighitti.
Stone cold last before kickoff, the pressure-relieving win lifted the Phoenix into the A-League's top six, with eight points from seven games.
It was a gutsy effort from the visitors, with five of the starting XI, including Brockie, backing up from the All Whites' 1-1 draw with China in Shanghai on Thursday.
Brockie's first goal came just before halftime as he slipped in behind a ball watching Tiago to meet a Paul Ifill cross.
Tiago's lazy defending allowed Brockie to take his time before finishing past Birighitti, who was stretchered off the field in the second half.
Birighitti made a brave one-on-one save to deny Brockie but he copped a knee in the face for his trouble.
The replays made for ugly viewing but there was no intent from Brockie, who had attempted to hurdle the keeper.
Brockie then sealed the three points with a well-placed header over the top of substitute keeper Matthew Nash in the 81st minute, before Ifill added the icing with a penalty.
Pacy substitute Benjamin Totori had burst into the Jets penalty box and was dragged down by Josh Mitchell, who somehow managed to stay on the field despite his blatant infraction.
Brockie should have had a hat-trick in injury time, but Totori ignored his cries before shooting into the side netting.
The win continues the Phoenix's dominant record over Newcastle, having now won 12 of their 17 meetings.
Former England international Emile Heskey was unable to add to his five-goal tally for the Jets as Andrew Durante and Ben Sigmund largely kept the big targetman under wraps.
Stein Huysegems missed the game with an ankle injury which meant Vince Lia got a start in a three-man midfield.
The Phoenix fly to Perth tomorrow to prepare for Saturday's game against Shane Smeltz and the Glory, in a re-match of last season's finals game.