Adelaide United maestro Dario Vidosic scored twice to orchestrate a 3-0 drubbing of an off-key Sydney FC in Monday night's A-League match.
Vidosic's first-half brace, and a second half tap-in by Iain Ramsay at Hindmarsh Stadium, ensured the Reds keep snapping at the heels of ladder leaders Central Coast.
Second-placed Adelaide remain two points shy of the Mariners, who earlier on New Year's Eve downed Perth Glory 1-0.
Vidosic's double took his tally to eight goals in an influential season - he also hit the cross bar with an audacious curling 20 metre free kick, and struck a side post with another hat-trick attempt.
But more importantly for the 10,934-strong Adelaide crowd, Vidosic helped break the Reds' two-game losing sequence, opening his account with an 18th minute header.
Creative Marcelo Carrusca delivered a nifty pass which Iain Ramsay wisely let run for teammate Cassio, streaming down the left.
Cassio's cross found an air-borne Vidosic, whose header floated into the top right corner of the net.
Just 11 minutes later, Vidosic sliced through slack defence before passing to frontman Bruce Djite, who was felled by a tackle from behind by defender Sebastian Ryall.
Vidosic calmly slotted the penalty and the Sky Blues were on their way to a ninth loss in 14 matches.
Adelaide winger Ramsay rubbed salt into Sydney's wounds in the 61st minute after Djite outmuscled Ryall, charged at goal, and aimed a low left-footer at goal.
The shot was well saved by diving goalkeeper Vedran Janjetkovic but the rebound fell kindly into Ramsay's path and he tapped in from two metres.
Sydney, without injured star Alessandro Del Piero, were hampered by the loss of midfielder Adam Griffiths who hobbled off in the 12th minute with a leg injury.
The Sydneysiders have now conceded a whopping 30 goals this season and will return to the bottom of the ladder should Melbourne Heart defeat or draw with Newcastle on Tuesday.