Newcastle Jets winger Andrew Nabbout has continued his A-League purple patch, scoring twice to dismantle Melbourne City 2-1 and lift the club back into the top six.
A flat City were caught on the break either side of half-time in Coffs Harbour on Friday as Nabbout delivered a finishing masterclass to notch his first brace since bursting onto the scene in 2012 with Melbourne Victory.
Although the 24-year-old Nabbout conceded a controversial penalty converted by Bruno Fornaroli to give the visitors hope, Michael Valkanis' side slumped to another loss on the road to drop six points behind Victory ahead of next week's final Melbourne derby.
Travel dramas would have impacted on City, who were up at 5 a.m. on match day to catch a flight after wild weather on Thursday forced a cancellation.
They dominated possession but were too often slow to move, while their below-par defence gifted the counterattacking Jets time and space to service returned forwards Morten Nordstrand and Andrew Hoole.
Nordstrand might have opened the scoring had Jason Hoffman been quicker with an early cross, but the 7,891 crowd at Coffs Harbour International Stadium did not have to wait long.
In the 14th minute, Ma Leilei split City's highline defending down the middle with a clever ball as Nabbout sprung the offside trap.
Nabbout kept his cool as goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis approached, dropping the shoulder and blazing around him.
In the 52nd minute, he was at it again, latching onto a pass from Hoole and, after a mazy run, shooting with venom from 25 metres out for his seventh goal of the campaign.
Where City lacked spark, Josh Rose was a rare hive of productivity on the left flank, sending in cross after cross.
But any headway soon came undone through his own team's wastefulness or Newcastle's sheer desperation.
Fornaroli skied a free header and shot high while Luke Brattan was denied by a quick-thinking Jack Duncan.
More impressive was Lachlan Jackson's superb clearance to deny Bruce Kamau, while captain Nigel Boogaard defended with his face -- when he was not wrestling with Tim Cahill.
Despite Fornaroli's misses, the Uruguayan marksman made no mistake from the spot after a 69th-minute penalty decision that infuriated Jets coach Mark Jones, who believed Ivan Franjic appeared to be heading towards ground before Nabbout made contact with the City defender.
City's Anthony Caceres came close to equalising but there was no breakthrough.