Sydney FC 1 – 0 Newcastle Jets
Jubilee Oval has become somewhat of a fortress for Sydney FC, who have now won their last four consecutive matches at home.
The Sky Blues were put to the test by a Newcastle Jets side at risk of losing touch with the top six and having it all to play for.
Sydney had the better of the chances in the first half and were rewarded for their persistence when they found themselves in front, after Jets defender Nigel Boogard found the back of his own net, unable to clear a Brandon O’Neil pass inside the box.
Newcastle’s afternoon was exacerbated when defender-turned-forward Jason Hoffman was controversially given a straight red card after the referee deemed he kicked out in retaliation at Daniel De Silva.
The decision sparked outrage both during and after the match, with the Jets’ task made all the more difficult.
Dimitri Petratos tried to galvanise his side with an audacious attempt from outside the area but the ball was unable to swerve the way the Socceroo intended it to.
18-year-old Sydney FC midfielder Luke Ivanovic was introduced in the 85th minute and should have had an assist next to his name after a finding an unmarked Adam Le Fondre in the box who, despite taking a touch, was unable to beat Glen Moss from close range.
Ivanovic received a standing ovation for his ability see off multiple Jets defenders in the build-up.
The performance may not have been pretty but for the Sky Blues it was another win at home and enough to see them add pressure to the teams above them.
Melbourne City 0 – 0 Perth Glory
The best attacking side up against the league’s best defence brought about an uninspiring and tedious contest where chances were few and far between.
The match was gritty and tough, perhaps reflecting fatigue creeping in after an arduous January period.
While the performance failed to appease the home fans, for Melbourne City this was more or less a moral victory in holding Perth Glory to its first scoreless match for the season.
There was no late Glory winner and nor did they give their opponents a head start, having only themselves to blame for being unable to convert the few opportunities afforded to them.
Andy Keogh was nearly gifted the opener after intercepting a pass from City goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic, but the Irishman was uncharacteristically unable to convert.
Keogh had another chance go begging midway through the second half, but this time it was City defender Harrison Delbridge who saved the day, lunging in from behind to deny Keogh the chance to open the scoring.
Delbridge alongside Curtis Good were significant contributors in the keeping the Glory scoreless. Considering the team lacked experience in their attacking third, missing Dario Vidosic as well as Riley McGree and Luke Brattan – with the latter two starting on the bench – City’s defence held their ground and threw themselves at every contest especially in the final few minutes to save the game.
While the result sees the Glory temporarily extend their lead to four points on top of the table, City find themselves in danger of losing fourth position.