Jets hero eyes goals and Hyundai A-League six

Fresh from his match-winning goal in the F3 Derby, Newcastle Jets midfielder Steven Ugarkovic has targeted more scoreboard impact as his team aim to break into the Hyundai A-League’s top six.

The 21-year-old scored just his third professional goal as the Jets defeated Central Coast Mariners 1-0 on Sunday, and confirmed Newcastle coach Scott Miller has given him the licence to push forward.

Playing as a holding midfielder alongside Mateo Poljak, Ugarkovic surged into the Mariners’ defensive penalty area in the 57th minute at Central Coast Stadium, slotting calmly past Paul Izzo to claim three points for the visitors.

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“I’ve been given that freedom to go a bit more forward and things like that,” Ugarkovic told reporters on Monday.

Steve Ugarkovic

“So I just want to work on that side of my game as well.”

Ugarkovic was impressed by the atmosphere in his first F3 Derby, as the Jets claimed bragging rights in northern NSW for the first time since 2012.

“It was a great derby,” he said.

“The away fans, our fans were great – they had big numbers as well, which was good, they were behind us. Just the whole atmosphere was amazing.”

Sunday’s win stretched Newcastle’s unbeaten run to four matches, with Miller’s men suddenly back in contention for finals football.

The Jets (26 points) sit eighth, just four points behind fifth-placed Melbourne Victory and sixth-placed Sydney FC, with Perth Glory (28) in seventh.

Jets players celebrate Steven Ugarković's goal in their 1-0 win over the Mariners.

With Newcastle having failed to play in the finals for the past five seasons, Ugarkovic confirmed the Jets haven’t given up in 2015-16.

“There was a belief even when I came in [in the January transfer window],” the midfielder said.

“I thought they deserved a lot more than where they were when I came in, and just these last few good results have been excellent for the team.”