With two weeks to go until the Finals Series, the table is beginning to take its final form.
Adelaide United took a much-needed step towards a home final with a gutsy win in the Original Derby over the Melbourne Victory after George Blackwood’s late goal ended the away side’s hopes of a top two finish on Friday night.
Both the Victory and Adelaide needed wins on Friday to secure respective positions inside the final six but Kevin Muscat’s men faced a major road-block early as James Troisi succumbed to hamstring injury.
Terry Antonis, his replacement, had a chance to open the scoring but his deflected effort went wide before Ola Toivonen had two chances of his own either side of the interval to break the deadlock.
The Victory thought they had the lead when James Donachie scrambled the ball home from a Keisuke Honda corner but was ruled out due to a foul inside the box.
Adelaide, who had failed to test the Victory defence for much of the game began to put some much-needed pressure on Melbourne who crumbled late on.
Isaias was able to whip a superb ball into the box which was met by Blackwood to slam home the winner and all but secure a home final in the opening week of the Finals Series.
The Victory will finish in third and will look to resurrect their Asian Champions League campaign before their final regular season contest against the Western Sydney Wanderers when they face Guangzhou Evengrade at home on Tuesday night.
Adelaide will look to secure fourth spot when they travel to Brisbane to take on the Roar on ANZAC Day.
While on Saturday, Newcastle Jets put a hapless Brisbane Roar to the sword with a 6-1 drubbing at Suncorp Stadium.
With both sides’ fate secured, this game was a proverbial dead-rubber as the Roar unleashed the kids while Newcastle played an almost full-strength starting line-up.
The Jets had all the running early and were rewarded when Joey Champness slammed home the opener just after the twenty minute mark before four minutes later Roy O’Donovan had doubled the away sides lead.
It could have been worse before the break for the Roar had it not been for a fantastic save from Jamie Young after Angus Thurgate tested him brilliantly.
Moments after the break, the Roar found themselves back in the game after Lewis Italiano spilled a Dylan Wenzel-Halls strike which fell into the path of Zachary Duncan who scored his first A-League goal.
However, the Roar’s momentary resurgence came to a screeching halt when O’Donovan nodded home his second before Dimitri Petratos sealed the points after the ball rocketed in off his head and into the back of the net.
Soon after, Champness had his second with an easy tap in before Kwabena Appiah heaped the misery to make it six in injury time.
The Roar will be looking to bounce back in their final game against Adelaide at home on ANZAC Day as they farewell legend, Matt McKay while the Jets host second placed, Sydney FC.
Later that night, the Central Coast Mariners were given something to cheer for in their 3-1 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers at home.
The Mariners got off to a flier when Matt Simon rocketed home a free-kick to give the home side the lead just after the half-hour point as young Wanderers keeper, Jack Greenwood could do nothing to stop the ball flying into the back of the net.
Alen Stajcic’s men continued to pile on the pressure as Simon had his second after the break before Kye Rowles sealed the win after he nodded home a Jack Clisby cross.
Western Sydney were given a reprieve when they won a penalty which was put away by the retiring, Mark Bridge.
However, the Wanderers weren’t going down without a fight and the impending pressure saw Rowles succumb to it after he received a straight red for his challenge on Alexander Baumjohann.
Central Coast were able to hang on and record an impressive result in their final home game before they take on Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Friday while the Wanderers will host the Victory the following day.