The Sydney FC juggernaut keeps marching on after seeing off a stubborn Brisbane Roar 1-0 on Friday night to extend their unbeaten run to 12 matches.
Adam Le Fondre delivered the match-winner from the penalty spot for the Sky Blues early in the second half as he moved two goals clear in the Hyundai A-League Golden Boot race.
The Roar stood toe-to-toe with the Sky Blues through a scoreless first half of limited chances before a handball from Neville in the box – and his resulting dismissal - marked the turning point of the contest.
The result extends the Sky Blues lead atop the Hyundai A-League standings to 13 points, with the remainder of the round to come.
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Opportunities were at a premium early as Robbie Fowler’s side sought to stifle the Sky Blues attacking threats – the first shot of note not coming until the 29th minute when Luke Brattan drove straight at Young from the top of the box.
Scott McDonald saw the best chance of the opening half for the Roar but was foiled by a combination of the post and Sydney goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne, while Aidan O'Neill also skewed a shot across the face shortly after for the visitors.
In the second half the balance tilted early towards the hosts and they earned their reward in the 56th minute from Le Fondre’s successful penalty strike.
The Roar survived another penalty scare just minutes later when Corey Brown clattered into Kosta Barbarouses in the box, only for the VAR to rule the Kiwi international offside from the pass leading to the incident.
The Sky Blues continued to make the most of their extra man with a raft of chances – Jamie Young making a sharp double save in the 68th minute to deny Luke Brattan and Le Fondre before the Englishman also headed wide from the ensuing corner.
There were further opportunities for Milos Ninkovic and Anthony Caceres yet Young continued to prove impossible to beat from open play.
The Roar goalkeeper's heroics nearly paid dividends at the death, but his teammates were unable to capitalise on late chances as Aaron Amadi-Holloway spooned a shot over the bar in the 85th minute and Jacob Pepper sliced an injury time shot wide with Redmayne stranded off his line.
McDonald hits the woodwork in tight first half
Chances were at a premium throughout the first-half, with both defences holding sway for extended periods.
Luke Brattan forced a strong save from Jamie Young from range on the half-hour, but it was Scott McDonald who delivered the best chance of the opening stanza shortly after.
The former Socceroos striker popped up at the back postto meet Corey Brown's floated cross but there was no joy for the visitors as his effort bounced off the upright and then was swiped away by a diving Redmayne.
Alfie breaks through from penalty spot
It looked like more of the same in the second half, before the balance shifted dramatically in the 55th minute - leading to the Sky Blues opener.
It began with a cross from Anthony Caceres into the box for Milos Ninkovic to flick on for Adam Le Fondre to fire at goal and it drilled straight into the arm of Scott Neville resulting in the Roar conceding their first penalty of the season.
The result was a second yellow card for the Roar defender, while Le Fondre capitalised with the resulting spot kick for his 15th goal of the season.
Young keeps the Roar in it with double save
With a man down it was going to be a tough path back for the Roar but goalkeeper Jamie Young was doing his best to keep things afloat.
He faced a stern test in the 68th minute but came up trumps with a parried stop to foil a long range effort from Luke Brattan, before repositioning smartly to deny Le Fondre with a follow-up opportunity.
Roar miss chance to steal a point late
The Sky Blues fashioned a host of chances with their numerical advantage but simply could not put the contest to bed against the stubborn Roar.
The visitors' toil almost found reward late on when Aaron Amadi-Holloway out-muscled Alex Wilkinson to latch on to a lobbed pass from Jay O'Shea.
However, with Redmayne bearing down on, the Welshman rushed his shot high of the target.
Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday, 8 February
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick off: 5.00pm AEDT
Brisbane Roar v Adelaide United
Saturday, 8 February
Kick off: 7.30pm AEDT