Adelaide United continued their mid-season surge by defeating the Newcastle Jets 1-0 in a fiery Hyundai A-League encounter at Coopers Stadium on Sunday.
Bruce Djite's first-half goal helped the Reds finish 2013 on a high, while Spaniard sensation Sergio Cirio repeatedly ran rings around the Jets who looked a frustrated outfit for much of the clash.
Feelings regularly threatened to boil over often in what was an ill-tempered contest, with six yellow cards being dished out in the space of 31 minutes at one stage.
Adelaide, notching their third successive clean sheet, were resplendent in the first half and resolute in the second as the visitors desperately but unsuccessfully sought to equalise.
Isaias nearly broke through fortuitously on eight minutes with a viciously swinging corner which curled with the breeze and came close to looping past Newcastle goalkeeper Mark Birighitti.
For the most part though, the Reds dictated terms via slick passing and textbook defence as the Jets failed to rally a single shot on target in the first half.
Cirio broke clear and looked home and hosed on 20 minutes but was undone by a sensational goal-saving tackle by Newcastle right-back Jacob Pepper.
Bossing play, the home side was surging and would ultimately be celebrating in the 26th minute when Djite busted the deadlock.
Slicing through the midfield in trademark fashion, Cirio fed a nice pass to Jeronimo Neumann, who swung a nice cross which Birighitti did well to cut off, diving head-first forward.
In heavy traffic, the ball rebounded to Steven Lustica, whose quick attempt was blocked by defender Josh Mitchell's legs and into the path of the unmarked Djite, who hammered it home with force, Birighitti still well out of position.
Adelaide came close to making it 2-0 when red-hot Cirio, with sizzling pace, laid one off for Jeronimo but the Reds spearhead couldn't beat Birighitti with his curling effort.
The Jets were under the pump and the frustration was evident when Taylor Regan was booked for his crude sliding challenge on Marcelo Carrusca in front of the Reds bench.
The home crowd, clearly believing a red card was in order, made its displeasure known every time Regan touched the ball thereafter, while animated Adelaide coach Josep Gombau made his feelings clear before continuing the earnest conversation with referee Chris Beath after the half-time whistle.
Jets midfielder Ben Kantarovski was booked just before the break for his physical tackle on Cirio, before Newcastle skipper Ruben Zadkovich and Adelaide striker Jeronimo traded yellows shortly after the resumption.
Jeronimo earned his fifth of the season which will sideline the Argentine for next week's clash with Sydney FC.
Then on 59 minutes Carrusca was booked for an ugly square-up, a studs-up challenge on Zadkovich, the spicy contest heating up physically as the Jets captain smashed the resultant free kick well high.
Carrusca was hurt following a rough, yellow-earning tackle by Nathan Burns, the Argentinian forced to substitute out of the contest, as was Osama Malik, who was left dazed and groggy courtesy of an earlier head clash, the pair replaced by Jake Barker-Daish and Nigel Boogaard respectively.
Adam Taggart gave the visitors their first real look for the afternoon in the 62nd minute when he found space on the burst, only to have his shot deflected by Eugene Galekovic, charging forward, while Josh Brillante's rifle in the 75th minute was well blocked by Jon McKain.
At the other end, Barker-Daish hit one from the left flank in the 88th minute that drew a piece of both verticals and was somehow kept out by Birighitti, the home side doing enough to keep the Jets at bay.
Adelaide United 1 (Djite 26)
Newcastle Jets 0
Crowd: 10,778 @ Coopers Stadium