ANGUS Thurgate is making a habit of being in the right place at the right time.
What's more, the talented teenager is building a strong case for a spot in the Newcastle Jets' starting side.
Thurgate sparked the Jets off the bench, scoring one goal and setting up another in a 2-0 win over Western Sydney at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday night.
The heroics came a fortnight after the Port Macquarie product netted the match-winner in a 1-0 triumph over Western United - the Jets' first win of the campaign.
"Angus is very fit, technically, he is very good and he is extremely coachable," Jets coach Ernie Merrick said. "For a youngster, he reads the play really well and is always looking for that 'what if' type pass or second ball. The little fella has put me under a lot of pressure for a starting run next week. That is exactly what he should be doing. He has come on and done a great job. That's twice in a row now. It gives me something to think about for the Adelaide game next week."
Thurgate has made the majority of his 22 appearances - 17 off the bench - in midfield. But in the past two games, he has been deployed in a more attacking role.
"I'm used to playing in the midfield. I guess up front, I'm still trying to get the timing right," Thurgate said. "Ernie is always telling me to make forward runs. He told me to do the same as last week and luckily I scored a goal. My self belief is definitely growing. I feel a lot more comfortable out there. I'm not intimidated any more. You get used to being out there - the quickness, the physicality of it - and you get more confident if you are impacting the game. All I can do is keep putting my best foot forward."
Introduced for Abdiel Arroyo in the 62nd minute, Thurgate nearly scored with his first touch.
He would not be denied a second time, latching on to a header into the goalmouth from Matt Ridenton in the 78th minute to break the deadlock.
"Lucky I was in the right place at the right time," Thurgate said. "I didn't even know where the goal was. I just turned and hit it and it went in."
Eight minutes later, the 19-year-old turned provider, beating the offside trap and then, with keeper Daniel Lopar to beat, he played in Dimi Petratos for a tap-in.
"I knew Dimi would have been shouting at me if I tried to shoot and missed," Thurgate said. "It was an easy option to pass it to Dimi and a certain goal."
Merrick said Thurgate had played the situation "perfectly".
"His timing of the pass made it a tap in," Merrick said. "It was unselfish and it was the right thing to do at the right time. For a boy of his age, he is very mature as a player."
The goal was Thugate's second at McDonald Jones Stadium and third of his A-League career.
"It was good to score a goal at home," he said. "Mum and dad and my older sister, Felicity, came down from Port as well as a few cousins. They don't get to many games so it was good to score as well as get the win."
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