Newcastle Jets edged defending champions Brisbane Roar 1-0, while A-League leaders Central Coast Mariners and Melbourne Victory drew 1-1.
Ryan Griffiths’ goal three minutes after the break handed the Jets maximum points against a lacklustre Roar outfit at Hunter Stadium on Saturday.
Griffiths, who has five Socceroos caps to his name, struck the decisive blow after he was played in by youngster James Brown in the 48th minute before chipping Roar goalkeeper Michael Theo for his sixth goal of the campaign.
The win was even more impressive given marquee and leading goal scorer Emile Heskey missed the match due to a hip flexor injury.
Saturday’s result ended the Jets’ three-game losing streak and elevated Gary van Egmond’s men into fifth position.
At Aurora Stadium earlier on Saturday, Daniel McBreen’s 77th-minute penalty earned the Mariners a share of the spoils after Marcos Flores handed Victory the lead in the first half.
Third-placed Victory, who conceded home advantage for what has become an annual game in Launceston, looked the stronger side but failed to hold on for the win in Archie Thompson’s 150th appearance for the club.
Marco Rojas was left to rue a missed penalty for Victory that would have opened the scoring, while the Mariners were without coach Graham Arnold in the second half after he was sent to the stands following an exchange with referee Jarred Gillett.
Central Coast, aiming to become the first team in the short history of the league to successfully defend the Premiers’ Plate, extended their lead on top of the ladder to two points ahead of second-placed Adelaide United.