Second-half goals from Graham Dorrans and Kwame Yeboah earned Western Sydney Wanderers a hard-fought 2-0 win over Melbourne Victory, taking their unbeaten A-League run to six matches.
Dorrans broke the deadlock for the Wanderers on 72 minutes at their Parramatta home on Wednesday in a deserved win against an improved Victory.
Victory forward Rudy Gestede gave away a needless penalty with a reckless high challenge on Bernie Ibini. The Benin international seemed lucky to avoid a second caution with Wanderers coach Carl Robinson leading the protestations as the contest became increasingly heated.
Dorrans, who scored a goal of the year contender in the Wanderers' 2-2 draw against Macarthur FC on the weekend, coolly slotted home a well-taken penalty.
The win lifted the Wanderers to third with 12 points from their seven outings, trailing second-placed Brisbane Roar only on goal difference.
Though displaying only limited fluency, it was a much-improved showing from Victory after their insipid 5-2 defeat against Roar on Saturday.
Their evening in western Sydney was further marred by a nasty head injury to star forward Marco Rojas.
A bloodied Rojas went off midway through the first half after being on the wrong end of a careless high boot from Dorrans. The New Zealand international suffered some deep lacerations on his face and was taken to hospital.
Wanderers' goalkeeper Daniel Margush was largely a spectator in the opening half, while Keanu Baccus and in particular Mark Natta had good sights of goal at the other end.
The Victory, however, were a renewed force for a time after the break though the contest remained largely devoid of clear goalscoring opportunities until the latter stages.
But the penalty award stymied the Victory's hard-fought momentum leaving the visitors forced to chase the game and liable to falling victim to a counter-attack.
Substitute Yeboah carved out one such opportunity with five minutes remaining but having done the hard work, pulled his shot wide of the near-post. Yeboah, however, would not be denied.
Two minutes from the final whistle he delivered a perfect low finish after Ibini led a pacy counter-attack. Victory wide-man Jacob Butterfield then saw a deflected cross bounce on the top of the crossbar but it would have been scant consolation.
It was another strong defensive showing from the Wanderers, with none of the six goals conceded this season coming from open play.