Goals from Alberto Aguilar and Mark Bridge earned Western Sydney Wanderers a 2-0 win over Newcastle Jets at Pirtek Stadium, securing top spot for Tony Popovic’s men going into 2016.
Wanderers’ seven-match winning run in the A-League came to an end last time out with a 2-2 draw against Perth Glory but the leaders bounced back on Thursday, with goals in either half keeping them unbeaten since the start of November.
Jets came into the game in woeful form – boasting just four points from their previous seven games – but were unfortunate not to be awarded a first-half penalty when Scott Neville, playing against his former team, appeared to handle in the area.
However, the visitors fell behind late in the half when Scott Jamieson whipped in a free-kick that found Alberto unmarked at the back post. Mark Birighitti failed to keep a relatively tame header out as the Spaniard registered his first goal for the club.
Wanderers all but wrapped up the points 20 minutes from time when Bridge, another ex-Jet, scored for the fifth game in succession with a well-taken finish inside the area.
Substitute Dario Vidosic drew a save from Birighitti and when the parry fell to Bridge, the in-form striker turned and found space before finishing smartly.
The win takes Wanderers five points clear at the top, with closest challengers Brisbane Roar taking on third-placed Melbourne City on Sunday.
Things look bleak for Scott Miller’s Jets however, who are winless in nine matches and have failed to score in their last four.