Adelaide United played the last 25 minutes at a numerical disadvantage, but hung on to hold visiting Newcastle Jets to a 0-0 draw as Round 8 of the A-League got underway.
The point ensured the Jets avoided an eighth straight away loss and lifted them to fifth in the ten-team division, while Rini Coolen’s team jumped one slot to seventh.
A lacklustre contest burst into life on 65 minutes, when Adelaide’s Nigel Boogaard, who was born in Newcastle, collected a second yellow card for dissent.
Gary van Edgmond's Jets immediately took the game to their hosts, and should have been ahead on 80 minutes. Tarek Elrich, who had been disappointing up until that point, produced a superb cross from the right for Labinot Haliti, who, unmarked from eight yards out, headed a yard wide of the post.
With two minutes remaining, however, Adelaide almost snatched an improbable winner. Newcastle centre-back Tiago did well to deny Fabian Barbiero a run on goal, but rather than clear the ball, the 30-year-old tried to dribble his way upfield and was tackled by Iain Ramsay. The ball broke to the unmarked Barbieri, who slotted it home from ten yards, only to see his effort cancelled out for offside.
The Jets had a penalty appeal turned down in the closing minutes, while United's Ramsay unleashed a swerving piledriver which went narrowly wide.
Brisbane on brink of history, Gold Coast eye relief
Tomorrow, leaders Brisbane Roar will strive to break a 74-year-old sporting record in Australia by avoiding defeat at home to fourth-placed Perth Glory, while second-placed Central Coast Mariners entertain a Melbourne Heart side two points beneath them.
On Sunday, Sydney FC, in third, visit lowly Wellington Phoenix as Melbourne Victory host rock-bottom Gold Coast United, who are aiming to avoid a fourth successive defeat.