Jamie MacLaren scored his 13th goal of the season as Melbourne City beat Newcastle Jets 2-0 at AAMI Park to move five points clear of third-placed Perth Glory in the A-League table.
Craig Noone got City off to a fine start when Maclaren broke down the left and cut inside before squaring to the former Cardiff City midfielder, who curled a well-judged shot into the bottom corner of the net beyond the diving Lewis Italiano.
The Jets goalkeeper did well to keep a fierce Maclaren drive out with an acrobatic first-half save and the visitors almost levelled through Matt Millar's downward header that forced a good save from City keeper Dean Bouzanis.
Newcastle were very much in the hunt for an equaliser until the VAR spotted a handball by Nikolai Topor-Stanley on the edge of the six-yard box just after the hour mark, and Maclaren stroked the ensuing penalty low into the corner of the net.
That result left second-placed City eight points behind leaders Sydney FC, while elsewhere fourth-placed Wellington Phoenix slipped up in a 1-0 defeat at Brisbane Roar.
The breakthrough at Suncorp Stadium came in the 69th minute when Brisbane substitute Dylan Wenzel-Halls collected a headed pass from Bradden Inman, flicked the ball around Phoenix captain Steven Taylor and lashed it into the top corner of the Wellington net. The goal was Wenzel-Halls' first of the campaign and clinched a victory that moved his side up to seventh in the table.