Reza Ghoochanejhad and Cameron Devlin scored their first A-League goals while Milos Ninkovic provided the dazzle in Sydney FC's 2-0 win over Adelaide United on Friday night.
The Sky Blues moved to within five points of league leaders Perth -- a delight for the 11,217 who travelled to the boutique inner-western Sydney ground.
Ninkovic sparkled, despite a lengthy spell on the turf from Michael Marrone's bruising tackle, in a clear man-of-the-match performance. Ninkovic's passing, chips and movement allowed Sydney to probe and challenge the Reds across the night, although he was not one of six Sky Blues involved in the game's opener.
The honour of that goal belonged to Ghoochanejhad, who delighted in breaking his A-League duck. The Iranian was involved in the build-up before racing through the defence to latch on to Adam Le Fondre's though-ball and scoring between Paul Izzo's legs.
Devlin, 20, in his just fifth substitute appearance, capped the win with a 95th-minute breakaway finish for a first senior goal.
Unfortunately and unintentionally, his celebrations with the Cove provided the match's low note. The collapse of a fence left a security guard needing treatment on the ground after the match in a problematic end to the evening.
While the stats would show Adelaide eventually out-shooting the Sky Blues, they were always chasing the game -- and not always convincingly.
Mirko Boland impressed and George Blackwood carved out chances against his old side, but the Reds couldn't find a way through, resulting in a fourth straight match without a win.
Marco Kurz's side were up against the absence of regular defenders Jordan Elsey and Michael Jakobsen, which left captain Isaias leading the side from centre-back in his 150th A-League match.
In their best chance, Blackwood sent a goal-bound chip from an acute angle, only for Wilkinson to produce a goal-line clearance. Up front, Jordy Thomassen also drew another blank, and looked a square peg in a round hole.
The result leaves Kurz without an A-League win -- even if Craig Goodwin's magical double ensured a FFA Cup final win over the Sky Blues in November.
Back then, United were seen in a bracket of title contenders with the current top three: Perth, Sydney FC and Victory.
Right now, they look a way off and might yet fall out of the finals race.
Not so Sydney FC, who will be cheering Melbourne City on Sunday when they take on the Glory, hoping for an upset that will keep alive their hopes of a third straight title.