A double from Adam Taggart has steered Newcastle Jets to a thumping 5-0 victory over a lackluster Wellington Phoenix outfit at Hunter Stadium.
Emile Heskey scored his first goal for the campaign late in the first half to give the Jets the lead before a classy volley from Joel Griffiths just after the interval extended the hosts advantage.
Two goals from Socceroo Adam Taggart and a late stunner from veteran Michael Bridges rounded out an emphatic second half for the Jets and moved them into the top six.
The match got underway in warm conditions on a patchy Hunter Stadium surface and it was the home ¬¬¬side who adjusted to the conditions the better and enjoyed the majority of possession in the opening stages.
The Jets created the first opportunity in the 13th minute through Griffiths who brilliantly made space for himself inside the Phoenix area but he blasted his shot from a tight angle just over the bar.
Despite a bright opening by the hosts, the Phoenix gradually worked their way into the contest and looked threatening on the counter attack through Roy Krishna and Tyler Boyd down the flanks.
The Phoenix created their first opportunity in the 19th minute following a lovely one-two on the edge of the area between Boyd and Stein Huysegems but Boyd’s shot from a tight angle was well smothered by Jets keeper Ben Kennedy.
The contest lacked continuity in the ensuing period as both sides were guilty of committing a number of fouls and niggly fouls which ensured the contest became a stop-start affair.
The Jets settled into a rhythm as the half wore on and began to dominate possession as the Phoenix began to sit deep in their own half and play on the counter attack.
The hosts nearly made their dominance count in the 25th minute after a lovely cross from Josh Mitchell found Taggart but the Socceroo’s header was well kept out by Phoenix custodian Glen Moss.
Wellington had a glorious chance to grab an unlikely lead in the 29th minute after a lovely run from Roy Krishna teed up Stein Huysegems but the Belgian blasted his shot well over the crossbar.
The Jets forced five corners in the first half and their pressure eventually paid dividends with Emile Heskey on hand to net his first goal of the season in the 35th minute.
Ruben Zadkovich whipped in a driven corner to the near post which was flicked on by Josh Mitchell and found its way to the former England international who coolly prodded home from close range.
The former Liverpool star nearly doubled the advantage in the first minute of the second half after being played in behind by Joel Griffiths but his shot was excellently palmed wide by Moss.
But the Jets doubled their advantage from the ensuing corner after a lovely delivery from David Carney picked out an unmarked Griffiths who smashed a sweetly timed volley past a despairing Moss.
The Jets began to assert their authority on the contest and made it 3-0 in the 57th minute after a beautiful cross from Zenon Caravella picked out an unmarked Taggart on the six yard box to nod home.
The injury depleted Phoenix lacked a cutting edge in the final third and found it difficult to fashion clear cut opportunities against a well organised Jets defence.
The visitors best opportunity came in the 65th minute after the Jets were penalised for a back pass but the ensuing indirect free kick from 15 yards was easily cleared by the hosts.
The Jets added a fourth goal in the 77th minute through golden boot favourite Taggart who picked up a loose ball inside the Phoenix area before his deflected shot left Moss with no chance.
The home side finished by far the stronger and secured an emphatic victory in stoppage time with a stunning half volley through veteran striker Michael Bridges.
The home town favourite was picked out on the edge of the area by Craig Goodwin before he curled an audacious effort into the far corner past a despairing Moss.
Newcastle Jets 5 (Heskey 35', Griffiths 46', Taggart 57', 77', Bridges 90')
Wellington Phoenix 0
Crowd: 9483 at Hunter Stadium