Perth Glory have put a halt to a two-match losing run after battling with league-leaders Sydney FC to a 0-0 draw on Saturday afternoon.
Despite boasting many of the competition’s most exciting attacking players, neither side could find a breakthrough in what proved a highly tactical battle at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium.
The Hyundai A-League two best defences in terms of goals allowed this season held sway for large portions of the contest as the Glory put an end to a six-match run without a point in away games against the Sky Blues.
The hosts came closest to breaking the deadlock but saw an early Luke Brattan strike rubbed out for offside, before Milos Ninkovic and Trent Buhagiar failed to capitalise with one-on-one efforts late in the piece.
Now without a win in their last three matches, the Tony Popovic’s Glory side remain in fifth position on the Hyundai A-League table, while Steve Corica’s Sky Blues move 11 points clear atop the competition standings.
Reddy's reflexes deny Caceres chance
Both sides showed attacking intent early - with the Glory edging the early field possession.
But it was Anthony Caceres that delivered the best opportunity of the early stages in the 18th minute as the Sky Blues midfielder drilled a low shot on the angle at goal only to be foiled by a sharp stop from Glory keeper Liam Reddy down low.
The rebound fell invitingly for the lurking Kosta Barbarouses but it came to nought as the assistant raised his flag with the Kiwi international in an offside position.
Brattan sees potential opener rubbed out
It was proving a tight battle but in the 23rd minute the Sky Blues thought they had gone ahead as the Glory were caught in their own box playing out from the back.
Luke Brattan dispossessed Neil Kilkenney at point blank range and then poked the ball past Reddy but the celebrations were short lived after VAR ruled the ball had struck Brattan's hand in the process.
Grant spurns chance to break deadlock from free-kick
Despite that slip-up, the defenders were largely holding sway in the first half - evidenced by Gregory Wuthrich's expertly-timed sliding tackle in the 40th minute to diffuse Adam Le Fondre in the box as the Englishman looked to pull the trigger.
However, another opportunity presented for the Sky Blues just a minute later when Luke Brattan's free-kick met the near-post run of Rhyan Grant but the Socceroo fullback's first-time hit went over the bar.
Castro uncharacteristically fluffs his lines
The Glory struggled for shots throughout the first-half but in the 44th minute they had a brilliant chance to take the lead.
Attacking talisman Diego Castro did everything right as he played a wall pass off Joel Chianese to open a clear shot on goal but then got the finish all wrong as he blazed it high and wide of the target.
The miss furthered the Spaniard's unlikely record of never having scored against the Sky Blues and ensured the teams went into the break locked at nil-all.
Breakthrough still eludes both sides early in second half
The intensity was upped after the restart but still the goal proved hard to find for both teams as the hour ticked over.
Bruno Fornaroli came close in the 56th minute when Tomislav Mrcela nodded on a corner kick for the Uruguayan in a promising position but his reaction header went just wide.
Minutes later and Anthony Caceres wound up for the Sky Blues from distance but his strike faded wide of the target.
Fornaroli finally calls upon Redmayne
Chances continued to prove few and fair between - with a speculative drive from Luke Brattan on 71 minutes the next best the hosts could fashion heading into the final quarter hour.
But in the 74th minute the Glory finally put Sky Blues goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne to work as he tipped over a firm strike from Bruno Fornaroli as the visitors continued to build momentum.
Reddy denies late opportunity for Ninkovic
With time running out it felt like something special was required to break the deadlock.
It nearly came from Andrew Redmayne in the 87th minute as the Sky Blues gloveman bombed the ball downfield with an early release that lead to Milos Ninkovic finding himself in behind the Glory line.
With the points his to claim, the Serbian maestro pulled the trigger but Glory gloveman Liam Reddy had other ideas as he made a crucial save for the visitors.
Buhagiar misses chance to wrap it up late
Perhaps the best chance of the contest presented in injury time as Milos Ninkovic played in Trent Buhagiar for another one-on-one opportunity with Reddy.
This time the shot evaded the attentions of the onrushing Reddy, however the young attacker pushed his strike just wide of the far post to underscore a frustrating evening for the hosts.
Western Sydney Wanderers v Sydney FC
Saturday, 21 March
Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT
Perth Glory v Western United FC
Saturday, 21 March
Kick off: 6.45pm local, 9.45pm AEDT
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