Newcastle Jets struck a blow to Western United's A-League finals hopes with a 1-0 win at the McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
Roy O'Donovan handed the Jets the lead in the 29th minute and Western were unable to overturn the deficit.
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The loss leaves A-League newcomers Western four points outside the top six, albeit with games in hand.
The Jets had the better of the early chances and their diligence paid off when Bernie Ibini slid a through ball out wide for Jason Hoffman, whose clever cross was met by a diving O'Donovan.
O'Donovan directed a header past Filip Kurto for his 10th goal of the season.
He had earlier caught Western's Andrew Durante high with a swinging arm in the 14th minute but the contact was missed by the match officials and with no VAR, the incident went unscrutinised on the night.
Three minutes after O'Donovan's goal, Besart Berisha looked to have equalised with a classy tap-in off Connor Pain's cross, but the United marksman was clearly offside.
O'Donovan almost doubled his tally in the 45th minute when he clattered a long-range shot off the outside of the post.
Shortly after entering the game, Jets forward Abdiel Arroyo blasted a shot wide in the 60th minute.
Two minutes later, Western's Max Burgess floated his own attempt wide, before firing another shot straight at Lewis Italiano in the 68th minute. While the remainder of the game was eventful, Western were unable to snatch a result with Kurto denying Jets youngster Maki Petratos in the dying seconds.
Western are playing catch-up in the finals race, due to having several games in hand.
The A-League newcomers still have four games to play against fellow finals contenders Western Sydney and Perth Glory and top teams Sydney FC and Melbourne City.
With the victory, Newcastle leapfrogged Western into seventh place, one point behind Adelaide.
While the Jets are mathematically able to make finals, a poor goal difference with just one game left makes a top-six berth almost impossible.