Jets down 10-man Roar as striker ignites Golden Boot race with starring display

Catch all the highlights from Newcastle's 3-1 win over Brisbane Roar on Tuesday night

Brisbane Roar were reduced to 10 men as Newcastle Jets striker Apostolos Stamatelopoulos shone in a 3-1 win over the Queenslanders at McDonald Jones Stadium on Tuesday night.

Stamatelopoulos put the Jets ahead in the first half before Jay O’Shea was sent off for a challenge on Jets midfielder Callum Timmins just before half-time.

It was a foul that initially drew a yellow from on-field referee Daniel Cook, but on instruction from VAR Kris Griffiths-Jones, Cook assessed the incident on the pitchside monitor and elected to upgrade his decision to a straight red card and send O’Shea off in first-half stoppage time.

Stamatelopoulos tapped home his second of the night after the break, and assisted Lucas Mauragis with a sublime solo run as the Jets went three-goals clear.

Roar substitute Ayom Majok scored his very first Isuzu UTE A-League goal to make it 3-1 with just under 20 minutes to play, but the unlikely comeback wasn’t to be as Newcastle held the two-goal lead to full-time.

Two goals against the Roar took Stamatelopoulos’ tally to 10 goals in 12 games this season, drawing the Jets striker to within three of Golden Boot leader Bruno Fornaroli – the Melbourne Victory star currently away with the Socceroos at the AFC Asian Cup.

For Newcastle, it was a perfect response to Friday night’s 4-0 loss to Sydney FC; with captain Brandon O’Neill on the bench, Stamatelopoulos wore the armband and was praised by Paramount+ co-commentator Phil Moss for leading by example in the 3-1 win.

“He’s been very good,” said Moss. “And I tell you what – when you’re coming off a result and a performance like the weekend (4-0 loss to Sydney FC) you look for your leaders to stand up, roll their sleeves up and lead by example.

“Stamatelopoulos tonight for me, it was a wonderful captain’s knock.”

Jets midfielder Reno Piscopo wasted his chance to put the hosts in front from the penalty spot in the 25th minute after his misdirected shot on goal hit the hand of Brisbane’s Louis Zabala in the box. 

Piscopo stepped forward to take the spot kick but was thwarted by Roar keeper Macklin Freke who made a strong save to his right.

But just four minutes later the Jets would take the lead, with Stamatelopolous ghosting ahead of his marker to meet a well-placed Kosta Grozos free-kick whipped toward the front post; the Jets striker nodded the ball on its way past Freke and into the back of the net.

Brisbane went a goal down, and then a man down just before half-time when O’Shea caught Timmins on the shin after he had swooped in to take possession off the Roar star.

Referee Cook assessed the challenge as a yellow card offence but VAR Griffiths-Jones advised the on-field referee to take another look. After doing so, Cook turned his initial yellow to a red and sent O’Shea to the stands.

At half-time, Paramount+ co-commentator Phil Moss labelled O’Shea’s contact on Timmins as “completely accidental.”

“I think a yellow card would be fair enough, I think red card is over the top,” Moss said.

“I can understand with studs on the shin of Timmins, I can understand how it looks ugly but you’ve got to take the context into account. I think that’s purely accidental.”

Piscopo had another chance thwarted by Freke early in the second half after he breezed past Scott Neville to go one-on-one with the Roar keeper.

But shortly after the Piscopo chance came Newcastle’s second, tapped into an open net by Stamatelopoulos after a Daniel Wilmering cross as the Jets picked the 10-man Roar apart.

Stamatelopoulos’ night went to new heights as he single-handedly created Newcastle’s third.

The Jets striker received possession in his defensive half, rolling Roar defender Jack Hingert with an exquisite turn and driving through midfield toward goal.

Neville closed to put hefty contact on Stamatelopoulos – but not before he shifted the ball through for Mauragis to chase down and slot past Freke to get his first goal of the season, and reward Stamatelopoulos a hard-earned assist.

A suspect piece of defending from Mark Natta allowed Majok to bag his first A-Leagues goal in just his seventh A-Leagues appearance; the half-time substitute cut past Natta with ease to open up space to slot a left-footed finish past Jets keeper Ryan Scott and get Brisbane on the board in the Hunter.

Then came a gilt-edged chance for Nikola Mileusnic to cut the margin to one – but a piece of Scott brilliance, combined with Mileusnic’s wasteful finishing, deprived the visitors of a quick-fire second.