Western Sydney Wanderers’ rein as A-League premiers is all but over after they were held to a dour 0-0 draw by Adelaide United on Saturday.
A severe Thunderstorm hit Parramatta just before kick-off, forcing the start of the match to be delayed by 30 minutes due to a waterlogged pitch.
And it was the visitors who looked to deal with the conditions better as Fabio Ferreira and Marcelo Carrusca went close.
Western Sydney did plenty of probing to the well-organised Adelaide defence without really testing Eugene Galekovic in goal.
The second half followed a similar theme with both sides trying everything to unlock their opponents defence without much success.
The result means the Wanderers have now gone three games without a win and they missed the chance to close the gap on league-leaders Brisbane Roar.
To further compound the Wanderers misery, Melbourne Victory moved above them into second with a last-gasp 2-1 win at Perth Glory.
Archie Thompson scored the winner in the 90th minute after capitalising on some brilliant work from his Victory teammates to earn the three points for the weary club.
Saturday’s match was Melbourne’s third in nine days following a mid-week AFC Champions League clash against South Korean club Jeonbuk Motors.
Victory skipper Mark Milligan was credited with scoring both goals at either end of the pitch in the first half, including an own goal that handed Glory the lead after 27 minutes.
Michael Thwaite’s low header from a corner ricocheted off the midfielder’s knee and into the back of the net, sparking wild celebrations from the Glory defender.
But Victory did hit back in the 40th minute after referee Shaun Evans awarded a penalty to the visitors when James Troisi was held in the box by Matt Davies as he charged towards goal – Milligan atoning for his earlier mistake.
The visitors went in hunt for a winner and were forced to wait until stoppage time when Thompson pounced on a Troisi pass to move Melbourne into the top two.
In Saturday’s other action, Central Coast Mariners boosted their hopes of a final series berth with a 3-1 derby win over Newcastle Jets.
Two goalkeeping howlers from Mark Birighitti book-ended the result which moves the Mariners into fourth position.
Eddie Bosnar’s free-kick from near halfway scuffed across the turf and Birighitti inexplicably let the ball bobble past him, with Berni Ibini doubling the advantage within the opening 10 minutes.
Joel Griffiths cut the margin after 23 minutes before substitute midfielder Glen Trifiro’s late goal secured the triumph, converting after Birighitti had spilled Matt Simon’s initial effort.
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