Adelaide United are within touching distance of a finals berth, coming away with a 1-0 win over the struggling Melbourne Victory at AAMI Park.
Craig Goodwin’s solo-run and tidy finish was enough for the Reds to see-off their opponents who despite the tight score-line never posed a threat to third placed visitors.
Following their defeat at the hands of Perth in mid-week, the result not only gets Carl Veart’s side back into third place but opens a temporary seven-point chasm inside the top-six before Perth take on Macarthur later tonight.
The win did come at a cost for the Reds who lost both captain Stefan Mauk to a suspected calf-injury early in the second-half and Kusini Yengi strained his hamstring in the warm-up.
For the Victory, it’s a 17th loss of the campaign and their fifth in a row under caretaker coach Steve Kean but maintain their one-point gap from bottom placed Newcastle.
It also guarantees their lowest ever points tally in the club’s history as they now can’t reach their previous low of 23 points which they mustered up only last season.
Adelaide were immediately on the offensive, taking control of seemingly disinterested Victory outfit who never looked likely to find a way into the contest.
United’s first chance came through Elsey who nodded his header onto the bar before settling on the ball for much of the remainder of the half – keeping the ball primarily between the boxes.
However, their early dominance would have its reward as Goodwin played a clever one-two with Josh Cavallo before mazing his way through a stationary Victory defence to give the visitors the lead.
Melbourne’s seemed to have turned their listless start after the break, as Callum McManaman’s teed up the lumbering Rudy Gestede twice but the Benin international was unable to nod his efforts on target.
As time ran out, there was an immediate attacking boost upon the introduction of both Nishan Velupillay and Lleyton Brooks – with both youngsters not only lifting the crowd but adding much needed energy on the flanks.
In the dying moments, Elvis Kamsoba’s delightful ball to the back-post was almost turned home by Dylan Ryan whose effort narrowly missed the mark.
Adelaide will look to keep their hopes of a top-two finish alive when they host Sydney FC on Saturday before taking on Western Sydney in the final game of the season.
Victory will round out the season against both of their Victorian rivals in Western United and Melbourne City.