Newcastle Jets edged out Sydney FC 1-0 in a hard-fought clash at Magic Park Broadmeadow on Sunday.
Despite the loss Sydney FC still sit two points clear of the Jets on the Conference B ladder and will have to wait until the final round of the season to try and wrap up the conference premiership and a spot in the Foxtel National Youth League Grand Final.
Sydney FC paid the price for a slow start when after four minutes a Newcastle corner kick wasn't cleared and the Jets were first to pounce on the ensuing scramble to poke the ball home for a 1-0 lead.
After that it was all Sydney FC for the next half hour as they peppered the Jets backline only to be let down by the final pass and some good keeping from the Newcastle custodian.
Bai Antoniou was a constant threat on left flank while Max Burgess also caused havoc when chiming in from the midfield.
Deep in the half, against the run of play, Newcastle broke on the counter attack and centre back George Timotheou was adjudged to have fouled in the penalty area and a spot kick was awarded.
The Sky Blues keeper Anthony Bouzanis did enough to put off the penalty taker, over age player Andrew Brennan, however, as his effort sailed over the bar.
The second half also started poorly for Sydney FC as fullback Nicola Kuleski was shown a red card following a second caution in the match and the Sky Blues were reduced to ten men with 40 minutes still to play.
This did not deter coach Rob Stanton’s charges who continued to play their possession based game and dominate the Jets despite being a man down.
At times it was difficult to tell which team had the 10 men as Sydney FC dictated play while the Jets were devoid of any answers and relied heavily on the long ball to relieve the pressure.
Second half substitute Mani Gonzalez went close when his flick went just wide of the post followed by a goal bound shot by Timotheou was deflected away on the line.
Antoniou continued his good form from the first half only to see a pile driver palmed away from goal followed by another shot which hit the base of the post before bouncing to safety.
The best chance of the half fell to Max Burgess when he broke through one on one with the ball. When it seemed a square ball was the right option to a team mate, Burgess chose to shoot and Newcastle were again saved by their keeper.
It just wasn't to be Sydney's as Newcastle Jets hung on for the 1-0 win.
Sydney FC still hold destiny in their own hands as they need to win or draw against the FFA Centre of Excellence next Sunday while the Jets must beat the Central Coast Mariners and hope that the FFA COE can topple the Sky Blues.
Meanwhile Adelaide United took out the Conference A title and earned a spot in the Foxtel NYL Grand Final when they beat Perth Glory 2-1 to finish on 18 points.
Sydney FC 0
Newcastle Jets 1 (Brennan 4')