Queensland roar to A-League summit
Queensland Roar have stormed to the top of Australia's A-League for the first time this season with a 4-1 win over bottom side Perth Glory.
In-form Queensland's eighth win of the campaign nudged Central Coast Mariners off the top of the standings on goal difference after the Mariners crashed to a 5-2 defeat at home to champions Melbourne Victory on Monday.
Frank Farina's Roar are hitting their best form at the right time and capitalised on Glory's mistakes to score through Robbie Kruse, Brazilian Reinaldo, Tahj Minniecon and Josh McCloughan.
Central Coast's premiership stocks plummeted as Melbourne kept alive their faint finals hopes with an emphatic victory in Gosford.
Frontrunners for all but one of the opening 17 rounds of the A-League, the depleted Mariners will start the new year chasing the Queensland Roar after conceding top spot on goal difference following their worst loss of the season.
They have now conceded 10 goals in two games following their epic 5-4 defeat against Sydney FC last week, and with Sydney now just three points behind in third place, risk dropping out of the top two if coach Lawrie McKinna can't find a way to plug the massive leak in the Mariners' defence.
For Melbourne, the victory snapped an eight-game winless streak, leaving the defending champions five points adrift of fourth-placed Newcastle and with an outside chance of making the playoffs with three rounds to play.
Sydney FC smashed Adelaide United 3-1 before a record crowd of more than 25,000 at Adelaide Oval to hold down third spot on the table.
Midfielder Kristian Sarkies netted for Adelaide in the 20th minute before Sydney capitalised on defender Robert Cornthwaite's 33rd minute red card.
Brendon Santalab equalised with a superb strike from 20 metres in the 44th minute before further goals from midfielder Steve Corica and wingback Rob Middleby.
Wellington Phoenix maintained their mathematical hopes of squeezing into the playoffs with a 3-2 win over Newcastle Jets in Newcastle.
Goals to Michael Ferrante and Kristian Rees early in the second half secured the win for the Phoenix after Shane Smeltz -- the season's joint topscorer with nine goals -- had his initial first-half strike cancelled out by a Mark Bridge penalty.
Jets striker Scott Tunbridge gave the home crowd hope of a result with his first goal of the season in the 81st minute, but Wellington hung on for their fifth win of the competition.