Western Sydney Wanderers maintained their unbeaten start to the A-League season with a 1-0 win over Melbourne Victory at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday night.
An 82nd-minute strike from Mark Bridge was the difference between the two sides after Labinot Haliti had sent a pinpoint cross over the face of goal.
The Victory looked the better side for significant periods of the round six fixture, but couldn’t make the most of their chances when they came, with Archie Thompson a chief offender.
The win moves the Wanderers to the top of the A-League table, but Brisbane Roar can reclaim top spot with a win over the Newcastle Jets on Sunday.
Before a crowd of 15,854 in persistent rain the Victory pressed well early with the Wanderers having to rely on counter attack to force their way into the game.
But the home side again showed persistence and self belief are two of their key characteristics.
The hosts dominated the last half hour of the game in forcing their fourth win of the season with the Socceroos squad watching on ahead of their friendly against Costa Rica in Sydney on Tuesday.
In Perth, Adelaide United ended their three-match losing run with a 1-1 draw against Perth Glory to spoil the Glory debut of French defender William Gallas.
After a scoreless first half, it was Adelaide that opened their account first in the 55th minute thanks to a brilliant header from Osama Malik after he got on the end of an even better cross from Tarek Elrich out of a corner.
Elrich’s ball got right over the back of the Glory defence where Malik was waiting to head the ball into the net and out of reach of Perth goalkeeper Danny Vukovic.
That got Adelaide’s tails up following three successive losses and it was always going to be hard work for the Glory to fight back in the 30-plus degree temperatures in mid-afternoon Perth.
However, the home side got a boost when 36-year-old former English Premier League star Gallas came on as a substitute in the 63rd minute to replace Steve Pantelidis.
It only took another eight minutes for the Glory to equalise with another substitute, Chris Harold, also scoring with a header out of a corner.
Perth quickly took the corner with Sidnei Sciola’s short pass finding Steve McGarry, who then crossed it in over Adelaide’s disorganised defence where Harold was waiting to head the ball into the net despite a desperate dive from Eugene Galekovic.