Perth Glory produced an outstanding display of counter-attacking football to gain all three points against the struggling Western Sydney Wanderers by one goal to nil.
For a team massively out of form, head coach Markus Babbel would have urged his players to keep things tight in the opening exchanges...but this was clearly lost on Dylan McGowan.
The centre back attempted a weak pass infield that Jake Brimmer gleefully intercepted before Bruno Fornaroli drove forward with the ball and side-footed past Daniel Lopar with the aid of a fortunate deflection.
This settled Glory into their rhythm and the away side were simply sharper in every aspect of play, their movement and crisp passing constantly cutting through the Wanderers midfield.
It's become customary when covering A-League games in recent weeks to devote a lot of time to discussing VAR and this evening's game was no different.
It was first used when Wanderers believed they had found an equaliser after Daniel Georgievski's wildly mishit shot rebounded off Kwame Yeboah and into the net but replays clearly showed that it had hit the attacker's outstretched arm.
Joel Chianese then thought he had given Glory a comfortable cushion as the game wore on when he was played through and slotted his shot under Lopar but the check adjudged him to be offside by the tightest of margins.
The game was stretched by this point, huge gaps in the middle of the pitch not being exploited, and in truth Glory never looked fazed in seeing out the time - including a huge eight minutes added at the end - to take the three points back to Western Australia.
Sitting in third place in the table, Glory are only two points behind Melbourne City but crucially have a game in hand over them. With Fornaroli and the sublime Diego Castro linking wonderfully in attack, last year's Grand Final runner-ups look the likeliest to challenge Sydney FC during this campaign again.
They'll travel to face Melbourne City next Friday in buoyant mood but it's their opponents today who are under the real pressure.
Time surely has run out for Babbel and he looked like a defeated man at the end of the game.
All their early season promise has completely evaporated and they look like a team devoid of an identity and structure. They had 62% of the possession against Glory but two shots on target out of 22 is the damning statistic.
New signing Simon Cox watched on from the stands and he should be introduced immediately into the team but it's a lot of pressure to heap on a striker who's struggled in England's League One this season.
Perhaps the only consolation for Wanderers is that they have next weekend off, and the club would do well to use it as wisely as possible to sort their issues out before they face Central Coast Mariners in February.
Western Sydney Wanderers
Daniel Lopar - 5
A wicked deflection left the goalkeeper with no chance of stopping Glory’s winner. Needs to be better protected by his defence.
Tarek Elrich - 5
Didn’t venture forward much and was relatively resolute in defence.
Dylan McGowan - 3
A woeful display by the Australian. Completely at fault for Glory’s goal and looked shaky for the rest of the match.
Matthew Jurman - 4
Only slightly better than his central defensive cohort. The Glory front three had him beaten for pace and skill on several occasions.
Daniel Georgievski - 5
The best of a bad defensive bunch for the second consecutive week. He remains strong in the tackle but as a right footer playing on the left, what he offers going forward from full back is restricted.
Pirmin Schwegler - 4
Didn’t control the tempo and was overrun in the middle of the park.
Patrick Ziegler - 4
Similar to Schwegler, the midfielder didn’t do enough to track Glory’s runners and left his defence exposed on the counter-attack.
Bruce Kamau - 4
Looked short of match sharpness, especially in the early exchanges.
Nicolai Muller - 6
The home crowd’s disgruntled reaction when the German was substituted tells it all. Looked most likely to conjure something for Wanderers and came close with a stinging volley in the first half.
Mitchell Duke - 5
Just couldn’t get involved as much as he usually does. Well marshalled by the Glory backline.
Kwame Yeboah - 4
Didn’t do enough to convince Babbel and his staff to continue with him up top with the newly arrived Cox waiting.
Nick Sullivan - 4
Came close with a shot from the edge of the box but that was his only contribution of note.
Tate Russell - 6
Had an influence when he came on. Put several excellent crosses into the box from the right that his teammates couldn’t capitalise on.
Mohamed Adam - 4
On for Muller but didn’t have enough time to change proceedings.
Liam Reddy - 7
The veteran kept another clean sheet and was rarely troubled. A commanding goalkeeper.
Gregory Wuthrich - 8
A powerful defender who never let Duke out of his sight. One particular last-ditch block to thwart the forward was incredible.
Tomislav Mrcela - 7
Never troubled in the heart of defence.
Alex Grant - 7
Solid like his defensive partners and kept pace with Kamau when the attacker tried to run at him.
Soo-beom Kim - 6
Came into the side and done his chances no problems. Always offered an attacking outlet as he hugged the right touchline.
Jake Brimmer - 7
Came close with several shots and was a constant presence in midfield.
Neil Kilkenny - 6.5
A very tidy operator. Kept Glory ticking over and set up numerous counter-attacks.
James Meredith - 5.5
Tired as the game got stretched but was always willing to take on his marker.
Joel Chianese - 6.5
Unlucky to not get on the scoresheet due to VAR but his running constantly stretched the Wanderers defence.
Diego Castro - 8
A sublime footballer. His close control and vision bamboozled Wanderers at times and his link up play with Fornaroli was a joy to behold.
Bruno Fornaroli - 8
A player in excellent form and it continued today. His movement terrorised McGowan and Jurman.
Jacob Tratt - 4
Little time to do anything of note.
Gabriel Popovic - 4
Head coach Tony Popovic’s son got some game time and did best.
Kristian Popovic - 4
Popovic’s other son! Helped to see Glory over the line.