In-form Adelaide United retained a firm grip on third spot on the A-League standings with an assured 4-1 win over the Newcastle Jets at a rain-sodden McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle on Sunday.
The win keeps Adelaide level with Western Sydney Wanderers though trailing on goal difference.
It was a fifth victory in succession for Adelaide – their best winning streak for five seasons – and their red-hot confidence was on display throughout a one-sided contest against the second-from-bottom Jets.
Incredibly, it was 4-0 at half-time with the Jets briefly looking in danger of slipping to a club-record defeat – a 7-0 loss also against Adelaide in 2015.
Nevertheless it was a fourth loss on the trot for Newcastle with their mini-revival during February fast becoming a distant memory.
Adelaide made a dream start by racing to a 2-0 lead inside 11 minutes with goals from Kusini Yengi and Stefan Mauk.
It was a poignant strike for Yengi after a testing week in which the 22-year-old suffered online racial abuse after scoring his maiden A-League goal last week against Melbourne Victory.
Yengi dispossessed veteran defender Nigel Boogaard before finishing clinically from the edge of the penalty area.
Then it was Mauk’s turn and his late run into the penalty area meant an easy finish from Craig Goodwin’s cross in a goal that resembled a training ground move.
Adelaide certainly looked comfortable from the outset on a pitch that appeared to hold up well after heavy rain had lashed the Hunter region constantly for the previous 48 hours.
Ben Halloran got on the score five minutes before the break profiting from Javi Lopez’s inch-perfect cross.
There was still time for Goodwin to convert from the penalty spot after Yengi went flying following a challenge from Nikolai Topor-Stanley.
The Jets barely created a clear goal-scoring opening in the first half, while United could easily have added to their total.
The Jets lost defender Johnny Koutroumbis to injury inside the opening quarter-hour, having already started the match without injured experienced duo Jason Hoffman and Ben Kantarovski.
Newcastle captain Boogaard was unusually taken off by coach Craig Deans early in the second half amid a string of changes as the home side tried to arrest their slide.
The Jets, to their credit, solidified after the interval and Matt Millar pinged a shot against the bar, before Apo Stamatelopoulos headed home a consolation goal from a Ramy Najjarine cross.