Melbourne Victory had a comfortable win soured with a late sending off as they defeated the Newcastle Jets 2-0 in their National Youth League clash at SS Anderson Reserve on Saturday.
Strikes in either half from senior Victory players Isaka Cernak and Matthew Foschini secured a win that was overshadowed by substitute Theo Markelis' red card for dissent with only minutes to spare.
After a tight first 20 minutes with no clear openings, Victory striker John Buceto had the first chance to open the scoring but fired straight at Newcastle keeper Nicholas Hartnett when he could have squared to the unmarked Connor Pain.
Seconds later, Cernak should have given Victory the lead when his shot was blocked on the line by Taylor Regan with Hartnett sprawled on the ground after blocking Luke O'Dea's driven shot.
The home side's pressure paid off on 38 minutes when Cernak stepped around his marker and finished neatly after an excellent drive and cross by Pain down the left flank.
Just before half-time, the Jets had their best chance to equalise when impressive winger Andrew Hoole completed a mazy run down the right flank and his deflected shot bounced just wide of Victory keeper Lawrence Thomas' right post.
It didn't take long for Melbourne to further their advantage after the restart when Foschini fired underneath Hartnett after O'Dea's deft touch on 52 minutes.
The game got heated as Newcastle tried to find a way back, with James Jeggo and Jacob Pepper getting into a tangle on the ground - both lucky not to receive any punishment from referee Wilson Brown.
As the game wound down, Victory found themselves with 10 men on 87 minutes when substitute Markelis accumulated two yellow cards in three minutes - the second for kicking the ball away in protest.
The situation was almost immediately taken advantage of as Jets midfielder Nicholas Cowburn's deflected volley found the net, but the goal was disallowed for offside.
The loss meant two successive defeats for the Jets youth team in Melbourne after their 3-0 loss to the Heart last Sunday.
While Victory will join Central Coast on top of the standings, they will rue the sending off and subsequent suspension of Markelis - particularly as Archie Thompson will miss next week's Hyundai A-League clash against Adelaide because of Qantas Socceroos duty.
Melbourne Victory 2 (Cernak 38, Foschini 52)
Newcastle Jets 0
Melbourne Victory: 1. Lawrence Thomas (GK) (20. Luke Radonich 45), 2. Matthew Foschini, 3. Nicholas Ansell, 4. Jason Geria, 5. Dylan Murnane, 6. Spase Dilevski (14. Luc Jeggo 45), 7. Isaka Cernak (13. Theodore Markelis 45), 8. James Jeggo, 9. Luke O'Dea(c), 10. Connor Pain 11. John Buceto (12. Christopher Cristaldo 56)
Yellow Cards: Dilevski 15, Foschini 76, Markelis 84
Red Card: Markelis 87
Newcastle Jets: 1. Nicholas Hartnett (GK), 2. Chris Grossman, 3. Taylor Regan (C), 4. Sam Gallaway, 5. Koh Satake (12. Nicholas Cowburn 60), 6. Mitch Oxborrow, 7. Andrew Hoole (13. Luke Remington 59), 8. Jacob Pepper, 9. Kale Bradbery, 10. Mitch Cooper (14. Michael Finlayson 60), 11. Marco Jesic