Western United have leapt to the top of the Isuzu UTE A-League table after beating Adelaide United 1-0.
Connor Pain lashed home the opening goal in the 44th minute and Adelaide were controversially denied an equaliser in the 53rd.
It ensured John Aloisi’s Western sealed a fourth straight 1-0 win and went clear on top ahead of Macarthur and Melbourne Victory, who play later in the round, while the Reds remain winless.
Adelaide were without striker Kusini Yengi, who injured his quad in training on Thursday, but had a few early chances.
Jacob Tratt headed over the bar in the fourth minute, while Craig Goodwin skimmed a speculative shot just over the bar from a tight angle in the 33rd minute and shortly after, headed wide.
Western’s Steven Lustica was forced off the field in the 42nd minute with Jerry Skotadis replacing him in midfield.
Eleven minutes later, Lachie Wales went on a brilliant run, comfortably seeing off Adelaide midfield duo Isaias and Juande, then slipped the ball to Pain.
The winger cut inside onto his right foot and skidded a delightful strike into the bottom corner.
Nine minutes later, Adelaide were denied their chance to equalise.
As he hooked the ball forward, Goodwin copped a big challenge from Leo Lacroix and referee Kurt Ams blew the whistle to stop play, rather than letting Adelaide take the advantage.
While Ams stopped play and United’s defenders eased up, Ben Halloran burst forward to get the ball, chested it down then finished with aplomb, leaving Adelaide’s players in uproar when the would-be goal didn’t count.
Adelaide introduced Bernardo Oliveira in the 66th minute and less than a minute later, the youngster went on a weaving run then forced a good save from Jamie Young.
Reds skipper Stefan Mauk whipped a shot just past the far post in the 86th minute, while Young saved Ryan Kitto’s effort with his feet in injury-time to ensure all three points.