A hat-trick from Newcastle Jets striker Adam Taggart has handed Melbourne Heart their fifth straight A-League loss in a 3-1 defeat at Hunter Stadium.
Newcastle are set to move quickly to shore up the future of in-form striker Adam Taggart after his sublime hat-trick spearheaded the Jets to a 3-1 A-League defeat of Melbourne Heart at Hunter Stadium on Sunday.
The treble from the off-contract Taggart rocketed him to the top of the A-League goalscorers’ list after six goals in three weeks, and the Jets into third place on the competition ladder.
Taggart scored in the 38th, 55th and 62nd minutes to hand the winless Heart their fifth successive defeat and put even more heat on embattled Heart coach John Aloisi.
The 20-year-old’s haul came on the back of a brace against Brisbane Roar the week before and Jets coach Gary van Egmond said the club was intent on keeping him.
“He has been in talks with the club and I would be very surprised if he didn’t stay,” van Egmond said after the Jets third successive win.
Taggart joined the Jets from Perth Glory at the start of last season and van Egmond said he was making the difficult transition from talented junior player to successful senior.
“I’m really pleased for him,” he said.
“He has worked really hard physically in the off-season and he really took his chances well.
“What is most pleasing is that they were not easy goals, they were difficult chances.
“He is scoring good goals from outside the box and inside the box.”
The Jets only defeat this season was their first round loss to Sydney FC and van Egmond said they were building nicely after going goal-less in their first three games.
“We are getting some momentum from winning games and scoring goals,” he said.
“It’s been a real team effort. As a club we are moving forward very well.”
In contrast the Heart are stuck in a deep rut at the bottom of the ladder after seven rounds.
Aloisi’s hopes of breaking their drought were raised via Andrea Migliorini’s goal from a free kick in the 58th minute – their first in 447 minutes of play – before Taggart ruthlessly crushed them four minutes later.
But a defiant Aloisi insisted there was light at the end of the tunnel.
“We have to keep working hard and I know we will turn this around,” he said.
“We will end up punishing teams.
“I have been in this situation as a player and I know we can turn this around.”