Adelaide United inflicted Sydney FC's first Foxtel National Youth League defeat in almost four months, emphatically thumping the Sky Blues 4-1 at Thebarton Oval on Saturday.
Two goals inside the first 10 minutes to Ryan Kitto and Bruce Kamau had the visitors reeling before Donovan Pollock's brace either side of half-time put the contest out of reach for Sydney, whose only belated retort came in the dying moments when midfielder Chris Naumoff goaled.
The Baby Blues' last loss was way back in October when they succumbed to the Brisbane Roar at Goodwin Park in Round 5, but United made the best side in the comp, albeit understrength, look thoroughly second rate in a stirring display.
With Jake Barker-Daish creating and distributing, Matthew Bouzalas owning his left flank, the exquisite-passing Reds were on song from the opening whistle, creating numerous opportunities and troubling Sydney all over the pitch.
Pollock forced busy Sydney custodian Anthony Bouzanis into a hot save in the fifth minute before Jake Barker-Daish swung a corner into the danger zone where Kitto connected on a header which was smartly denied by Bouzanis, the ball parrying into the path of Michael Marrone, who slammed the deflection, again saved by the Blues keeper.
Bouzanis turned from hero to villain in the eighth minute when his 1-2 with right back Joshua Symons was both badly miscued and horribly misjudged, the defensive clanger allowing Kitto to pickpocket possession and amble into a vacant goal.
Two minutes later, Kitto turned supplier when he curled a nice cross in front of Kamau, who athletically slid into goal.
Yet again getting behind the Sky Blues' defence, Pollock gave United a three-goal buffer when he found some real estate on the overlap and whizzed it past Bouzanis.
Dion Kirk got in the action a few minutes later with a cracking spin and deliver, only denied by Bouzanis's diving deflection, before Jordan Elsey attempted an audacious albeit off-target reverse bicycle from the ensuing corner, the home side full of confidence.
Adelaide maintained the rage immediately after half-time, marching to a scarcely believable 4-0 in the 49th minute when Pollock, played through beautifully, smashed one past Bouzalas from close range to collect his second goal.
Kitto almost had his second and the Reds' fifth when he forced the besieged Sydney keeper to produce a stunning save in the 56th.
Utterly woeful in the first half, the Blues at least managed to compete willingly and play some defence after the interval.
With United noticeably tiring late and gaps suddenly appearing in their defence, Sydney pounced in stoppage time through Naumoff, who found an opening and rattled home a beauty of a goal, but celebrations were muted, the visitors having been well and truly dictated to by the switched-on Reds.
Adelaide United 4 (Pollock 30, 49, Kitto 8, Kamau 10)
Sydney FC 1 (Naumof 90+2)
@ Thebarton Oval, 15/2/2014
Adelaide United: 2. Dion Kirk, 3. Shaun Harvey (C), 6. Jack Bladen, 7. Bruce Kamau (8. Christopher Skull 59'), 10. Ryan Kitto, 12. Michael Marrone (16. Jake Monaco 59'), 13. Jordan Elsey, 15. Matthew Bouzalas, 19. Jake Barker-Daish, 20. Paul Izzo (GK), 22. Donovan Pollock (11. Oliver Zafridis 59')
Yellow cards: Bruce Kamau 21
Unused subs: 1. John Hall
Sydney FC: 1. Anthony Bouzanis (GK), 2. Luke Clifford, 5. Daniel Petkovski, 6. Dylan Caton (15. Christopher Zuvela 17'), 7. Nikola Taneski (11. Keenan Gibson 52'), 10. Blake Powell (C), 12. Christian Gonzalez (9. Nicola Kuleski 57'), 14. Joshua McDonald, 16. Christopher Naumoff, 18. Anthony Tomelic, 19. Joshua Symons
Yellow cards: Anthony Tomelic 64
Unused subs: 20. Tristan Prendergast