Sydney FC has returned to the top of the table after an Adam Le Fondre brace sealed the win over Western United at GMHBA Stadium.
Le Fondre’s two first half goals sees him climb to third on Sydney FC’s all-time goal scorers list and second in the race to this season’s Golden Boot with seven goals.
Meanwhile a third consecutive goal-less performance sees Western United suffer its third straight defeat.
Illness to Johnny Warren medalist Milos Ninkovic forced Steve Corica to make a late change, replacing the Serbian international with Anthony Caceres due to illness.
In his absence, Alex Baumjohann stepped up to the plate and delivered – setting up both of Le Fondre’s goals.
Scott McDonald returned to the Western United line-up and found himself on the end of his side’s first chance, heading Josh Risdon’s cross wide in the 10th minute.
On the other wing Connor Pain was just as busy – receiving a nice ovation from the crowd after making a desperate run down the left wing to keep the ball in play.
But despite the promising start, it was the same old story for Western United, who fell behind after 27 minutes – conceding first for the sixth consecutive game.
Le Fondre headed the opener after being the beneficiary of an in-swinging Alex Baumjohann corner to the back post, in what was Sydney’s first attempt on target.
Western United captain Alessandro Diamanti tried to galvinise his side soon after with an audacious set piece attempt in the 33rd minute from the left wing, only to be caught by Andrew Redmayne.
Playing out on the counter, the Sky Blues came close to a second on the cusp of half time.
Baumjohann burst through the centre of the park in the 43rd minute to set up Kosta Barbarouses who, under pressure, only managed a miss-timed attempt from inside the box which was stopped by the out-stretched right arm of Filip Kurto.
The five minutes of stoppage time at the end of the first half gave both sides a final chance to get something out of the half.
While Dario Jertec’s long ranged attempt would have been a worthy equaliser, it was Sydney FC who had the last laugh heading into the break.
A swift combination between Brandon O’Neill and Baumjohann saw the German find an unmarked Le Fondre at the back post with a low cross, which saw the former Reading striker convert his second of the match.
Seeing his partner get on the score-sheet twice in the first half, Kosta Barbarouses looked to rectify a quiet opening stanza by nearly catching Kurto off his line with a long ranged attempt in the 46th minute.
Mark Rudan looked to his bench at the break and introduced Besart Berisha, who got the crowd on their feet with an attempted over head kick in the 62nd minute from a Panagiotis Kone cross into the six-yard box.
It took until the 77th minute for the home side to register its first shot on target with Diamanti’s attempt inside the area deflected out for a corner.
Kone had a chance in the 84th minute to spark a late come back but had his left footed strike saved by Redmayne, before Dylan Pierias missed an open header from the penalty spot two minutes later.
Western United remains in fifth despite the loss and host Melbourne Victory at GMHBA next week, while the Sky Blues return to Sydney where they meet Brisbane Roar.
Featured Image: Hyundai A-League
Western United 0
Sydney FC 2 (Le Fondre 27’ & 45+5)
Filip Kurto (GK), Aaron Calver, Andrew Durante, Connor Chapman, Josh Risdon, Panagiotis Kone, Dario Jertec (Max Burgess 64’), Connor Pain, Alessandro Diamanti, Scott McDonald (Dylan Pierias 62’), Kwabena Appiah-Kubi (Besart Berisha 46’)
Ryan Scott, Brendan Hamill, Ersan Gulum, Jerry Skotadis
Andrew Redmayne (GK), Rhyan Grant, Ryan McGowan, Alex Wilkinson, Michael Zullo (Joel King 70’), Alex Baumjohann (Luke Ivanovic 78′) Luke Brattan, Brandon O’Neill, Anthony Caceres, Adam Le Fondre, Kosta Barbarouses (Paulo Retre 85′)
Tom Heward-Belle, Trent Buhargiar,