NIKOLAI Topor-Stanley produced a contender for goal of the year to inspire the Newcastle Jets to a drought-breaking 2-1 win over the Perth Glory at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday.
Topor-Stanley put the home side ahead with a 25-metre thunderbolt in the 12th minute. It was his 11th and by far most spectacular strike in 311 A-League games.
Perth drew level on the half hour through a Neil Kilkenny penalty after the VAR ruled the ball had struck the arm of Nigel Boogaard when he slid in to make a clearance.
The game was on a knife's edge until the 74th minute when Roy O'Donovan collected a Dimi Petratos cross and tucked it home for the Irishman's second goal in two games.
The Jets finished the stronger, but in the end needed a reflex save from Lewis Italiano in injury time, batting a Bruno Fornaroli header away at the near post, to secure maximum points.
Jets coach Carl Robinson played in the Premier League and had 53 caps for Wales, but couldn't recall a better goal in a match he had been involved in.
"It was a super strike. I have not seen a goal like that for a good while, certainly not from a centre back," Robinson said.
The win was the Jets' first in three games under Robinson and the first time they have beaten Perth at home since November 5, 2011.
"One of the guys said 'well done coach, but you don't seem happy'," Robinson said. "My reply was: 'it's three points. That is all it is'. I am thinking about two's week time now and how to improve from the couple of weeks we have been here. I have sensed improvement. There have been some key contributors who have increased their level of performance. I'm pleased for them. The players deserve all the credit. They are the ones who have done the work."
Victory moved the Jets to 18 points, eight points adrift of sixth-placed Brisbane, who are away to Melbourne City on Sunday.
Glory (30 points) remain in second spot, despite the defeat, their first in 11 games.
Robinson fielded the same XI for a third straight game. The evolution under the Welshman also continued as the home side for the most part played out from the back and built up play.
The tactic supplied a chance to Abdiel Arroyo in the seventh minute but he blazed wide.
However, the Jets were under pressure a minute later. Joel Chianese beat Topor-Stanley down the right and his angled shot grazed the fingertips of Lewis Italiano.
The danger wasn't over. From the corner, Perth produced a set play for Tarek Elrich who curled a strike which beat everything bar the crossbar. The rebound fell for Chianese but he couldn't keep a shot down.
The visitors were on top.
The Glory failed with a clearance which fell to Steve Ugarkovic. His shot cannoned into the legs of a defender and rebounded to Topor-Stanley 25 metres from goal. The left stopper took a touch and then hit a shot with everything he had which arrowed into the top right corner, sending his teammates and the crowd into delirium. It was still rising when it thudded into the net. Fox Sports football lab did the sums and determined the shot was travelling at 128 kilometres per hour.
There was little in the game and visitors drew level in the 30th minute from the penalty spot.
Again, the attack came down the Glory's right side through Chianese, who drove towards the box and hit a low cross. Boogaard slid in to clear and the ball struck his trailing arm. Referee Adam Fielding waved play on, only for the VAR to intervene. After seeing a replay, the referee pointed to the spot.
Neil Kilkenny stepped up and sent Italiano the wrong way.
Robinson introduced Wes Hoolahan and Bernie Ibini in the 61st minute.
The changes had the desired impact as the home side started to grab the ascendancy.
O'Donovan had a header rise over the bar and Petratos had a shot deflect wide.
The goal finally came in the 75th minute. Burns swung in a cross from the left, which took a touch off Inbini and fell into the path of O'Donovan, who slotted home.
There was an anxious wait as the VAR checked for offside, but eventually the goal was given, much to the joy 7420 Jets faithful.