Star imports deliver for Sydney FC in ALM

Sydney's old guard delivered for coach Steve Corica as the Sky Blues finally kept an A-League Men's clean sheet in a 2-0 away win over Newcastle.

Sydney started the round in 11th spot having lost four of their past five matches.

But the win at McDonald Jones Stadium lifted them six spots to fifth and above Newcastle, who stayed eighth on the tightly-packed ladder.

Two quality first-half finishes in the space of four minutes from imports Adam Le Fondre and Robert Mak secured the much-needed points for Sydney.

Corica chose his most experienced available starting lineup with an average age of 30 and Max Burgess the youngest at 27.

The Sky Blues had conceded 18 goals across their first nine games but the return of Luke Brattan and injury-plagued import Jack Rodwell, who played 77 minutes in just his second game of the season, added more steel to their side.

"Very pleased with the commitment from the players and the effort and the most important thing for me today was the clean sheet," Corica told Paramount Plus.

"I'm very happy for Jack as well to play as long as he did because I think he makes a big difference at the back.

"You could see today his leadership and some great qualities defensively as well which helps us.".

Newcastle, who slumped to a sixth loss in their past eight games, looked vulnerable down the flanks, especially on the counter attack.

The recalled Burgess was Sydney's biggest threat early on, having two firm shots saved by Jack Duncan.

Le Fondre's classy close-range volley from Diego Caballo's pinpoint cross opened the scoring in the 37th minute.

Slovakian Mak, who had already gone close on a couple of occasions, doubled the lead as he displayed some fine footwork and a quality finish after Newcastle were caught out by a quick throw.

The Jets had far more crosses and final third entries than the visitors, but coach Arthur Papas felt his team looked flat.

"They've got quality players and they were just a bit more clinical today," Papas said.

"We got Into their box, we've just got to get more outcomes."

The Jets only attacking threat In the first half was Reno Piscopo.

He had their only two shots on target in the first 45 minutes and forced one good save from Sydney goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne.

The lively Burgess threatened to add to Sydney's tally in the second half but was foiled again by Duncan and had another shot blocked.

Jason Hoffman equalled the Jets' ALM record of 196 appearances set by Ben Kantarovski when he came on as a second-half substitute.