NEWCASTLE Jets ended a nine-game winless run and sparked their hopes of avoiding the wooden spoon with a 4-3 win against arch-rivals Central Coast at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
The Jets remain last on the points table, but they have climbed to 13 points, equal with the Mariners, who have a better for-and-against record.
With new coach Carl Robinson set to take the reins on Monday, and Irish striker Roy O'Donovan back on deck after a half-season stint with Brisbane, Newcastle fans are entitled to feel confident their team will eke out enough wins over the remaining 10 games to climb the ladder.
It was Newcastle's first victory since they beat Western Sydney 2-0 on November 30.
Sunday's win, however, was not without some nervous moments for the home team.
The Jets dominated the opening exchanges and drew first blood in the 15th minute when fullback Matt Millar whipped in a cross, striker Abdiel Arroyo centred it with a header and Dimi Petratos finished with a powerful left-foot strike.
It was 2-0 minutes later when a Petratos corner bounced opportunely for defender Nikolai Topor-Stanley, who half-volleyed into the net.
Against the run of play, the visitors reduced the deficit just before half-time when substitute Ruon Tongyik scored from a free header.
Four minutes into the second half, Central Coast were inexplicably back on equal terms when defender Jack Clisby headed home after a Milan Duric free kick.
Newcastle appeared to have regained the lead when Arroyo put the ball in the net with a header, only to be ruled offside.
But there was no denying Petratos in the 52nd minute when he fired home his second after a goalmouth scramble.
Three minutes later, Arroyo scored to give Newcastle a two-goal lead for the second time in the match.
Just when the Jets appeared to be cruising, a blunder by goalkeeper Lewis Italiano gifted Mariners substitute Chris Harold a goal in the 86th minute to leave the match in the balance.
A knee injury to midfielder Ben Kantarovski was a worry for Newcastle.
Kantarovski stayed down for treatment after a challenge in the second minute and then jogged to the sideline for closer assessment.
He was replaced almost immediately by versatile Angus Thurgate.