Western United bagged its first home win of the season with a 1-0 victory over Western Sydney Wanderers at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon.
Aleksandar Prijovic provided the winning moment just six minutes in when he converted James Troisi’s cross with his chest from point blank range.
Both sides had chances to add further scoring in the game but neither was able to find the final touch as United held on for a first clean sheet of the season, moving to within three points of the top six.
John Aloisi made four changes to his starting XI, two of which were enforced as Josh Risdon and Leo Lacroix dropped out of the side due to suspension.
Tomoki Imai came in for his first appearance since Round 1 and Ben Garuccio also returned to the line-up, while Tongo Doumbia made his first start for the Club in midfield.
Nicolas Milanovic was elevated for his second start of the campaign as Connor Pain dropped to the bench.
Just as the Liberty A-League Women side did on Saturday, United got off to a dream start as Prijovic scored the opening goal just six minutes into the match.
After some lovely combination play on the left between Ben Garuccio and James Troisi, the latter drilled the ball across the face of goal to an unguarded Prijovic who chested the ball over the goal line.
The early goal invited Western Sydney to play for an equaliser, but United’s defensive structure remained strong to limit any real chances at Jamie Young’s goal.
One such opportunity did arise though, and Sulejman Krpic should have made more of it as he got in behind Imai in the box but thumped his shot well over the crossbar.
A piece of magic from Milanovic nearly brought about his fourth goal of the season as the youngster won the ball back high up the pitch and stretched to send a goal bound shot on the half volley, but Lawrence Thomas pulled off an excellent save to tip it around the post.
The Wanderers continued to hold most of the possession but United defended stoutly to keep the lead heading into half-time.
United continued to allow Western Sydney to hold the bulk of possession, but still carried a threat in the final third and was unfortunate not to add to the lead early in the second half.
After Young had made a crucial one-on-one save, a flurry of chances around the hour mark nearly had United further ahead.
A series of balls into the box had the Wanderers defence scrambling to clear, with Prijovic providing a threat in the area and receiving support from elsewhere in attack.
Lachie Wales was lively on the right-hand side and Doumbia got himself in and around the penalty area and drew a strong save from Thomas with a shot that seemed destined for the bottom right corner.
Young remained active as Western Sydney pushed for an equaliser, making a sharp save with a quarter of an hour to play as he sprung to tip Calem Nieuwenhof’s effort over the crossbar.
Substitutions ensured United’s collective legs remained fresh and the side ultimately saw out the final 10 minutes of the game with relative ease, securing a second win of the campaign.