Round 18 in review

We take a look back at Play Football round, where the logjam for finals places became a lot tighter.

Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar. Friday 7 February Pirtek Stadium

The competition-s top two teams kicked off Play Football round on Friday night and the spectacle certainly lived up to its billing as one of the games of the season.

Besart Berisha showed once again why he was in red hot demand with a sublime piece of skill early on to open the scoring. The Albanian striker managed to wrong-foot a couple of defenders with the Roar-s first foray into the box and tucked the ball away to shock the home fans at Pirtek Stadium.

The Wanderers eventually settled into the match and dominated possession but found it difficult to carve out any clear cut chances against a resolute Roar defence. Youssouf Hersi looked the man most likely, creating several chances but it took the combination of Aaron Mooy and Labinot Haliti to square the ledger.

Mooy put in a pin-point cross with five minutes remaining that Haliti was able to latch onto sending the home crowd into raptures. It was the 28-year-old-s first goal of the season on a night that Harvey Norman Friday night football made its maiden appearance on SBS One.

Proceedings finished all square, leaving Roar as firm favourites to take the Premiership title away from their opponents. However similar to their performance in this match, Western Sydney will surely take up the fight until season-s end.

Central Coast v Melbourne Victory Saturday 8 February Central Coast Stadium

Melbourne Victory returned to winning ways in dominant fashion, joining the Mariners on 27 competition points with a come-from-behind win over Phil Moss- men.

Central Coast opened the scoring early on through Bernie Ibini, after Nathan Coe was only able to parry a shot from Josh Rose in his direction. However a brace from James Troisi combined with Archie Thompson notching his first ever goal against the Mariners settled the points for the Victory.

The Mariners had only conceded three goals at Central Coast Stadium all season but matched that figure in the 90-minutes. Their cause not helped the fact their squad underwent major upheavals during the January transfer window and they had strong claims for a penalty turned down when trailing by a goal.

Kevin Muscat-s side now only trail the Mariners on goal difference but have played an extra match in lieu of their Asian Champions League qualifier. The Victory will host Thailand-s Muangthong United this Saturday night in Geelong for a place in the Group Stage of the competition.

Sydney FC v Adelaide United Saturday 8 February Allianz Stadium

The Reds heaped more pressure on the Sky Blues after a dominant first half display at Allianz Stadium all but ensured the three points were banked by the break.

Goals from Bruce Djite and Fabio Ferreira gave Adelaide a deserved lead inside the half-hour mark. The pair showing composure and applying neat finishes to make last week-s loss look like merely a blip in their impressive winning run.

While Frank Farina-s men tried to get themselves back in the contest in the second stanza, they could not find a way past captain Eugene Galekovic. A second-ever goal away from Cooper Stadium for Jeronimo ensuring there was no way back for Sydney FC.

The victory pushed Josep Gombau-s side to within one win of third place, while Sydney FC will have to do some more soul searching this week after recording their third straight loss at home.

Melbourne Heart v Perth Glory Sunday 9 February Lavington Sports Ground

Melbourne Heart continued their impressive season recovery when they welcomed Perth Glory to Albury. The match kicked off two hours after the scheduled start time due to extreme heat and it was the Heart who were able to make the most of their chances.

Another thumbing header from defender Patrick Kisnorbo from a set-piece gave Heart the lead following a scoreless first half. His effort was cancelled out by Steven McGarry just after the hour mark much to the delight of Kenny Lowe.

However David Williams was the match-winner for the newly acquired Heart for the second week in a row, after he came off the bench to net the decisive goal. Williams became the club-s equal joint highest scorer in the process with his twelfth.

John van-t Schip-s side have now recorded three wins from their last four games and are unbeaten in the last month. Meanwhile Glory lost their place in the top six and will have a huge clash against Sydney FC this weekend to keep in touch of the competition-s leaders.

Newcastle Jets v Wellington Phoenix Sunday 9 February Hunter Stadium

Wellington Phoenix defied the heat and continued their remarkable run with a see-sawing 3-2 win over the Newcastle Jets at Hunter Stadium.

Carlos Hernandez found his name on the scoresheet again only for Craig Goodwin to equalise for the hosts. Belgian frontman Stein Huysegems put the Phoenix back in front, only for Goodwin to notch a brace early in the second half.

Jason Hicks came off the bench to nick all three points for the Nix when he produced a glorious strike on 71 minutes that proved to be the winner.

The three points sees the Phoenix move into the top six for the first time this season, while the Jets remain second-last and in danger of missing out on the finals.