Jamie Maclaren continued his great scoring record against Western Sydney as Melbourne City overcame pre-match disruptions to score a 2-0 away win over the Wanderers on Tuesday.
The Socceroos sharpshooter scored in each half at Bankwest Stadium to give him a tally of 15 goals in14 games against Western Sydney.
City dominated the game despite losing their head coach and a key player in the leadup.
With Patrick Kisnorbo coming down with suspected food poisoning, assistant Des Buckingham took charge.
"We spoke to him (Kisnorbo) before the game... the message didn't change, it just came from a different person," Buckingham said.
Florin Berenguer pulled out after tweaking an ankle in the warm-up and was replaced by Naoki Tsubaki, while another influential player, Adrian Luna, missed the game with a hamstring niggle.
City brushed off the setbacks and were good value for a win over a Wanderers side who have slumped to successive home defeats in a few days.
The win lifted the Victorians from 10th to seventh, just a point behind the Wanderers with two games in hand.
A poor pass from Keanu Baccus was intercepted by Craig Noone, whose pinpoint pass was controlled and rifled home by Maclaren in the sixth minute.
Maclaren doubled the lead in the 54th minute when he blasted a penalty into the roof of the net after the referee checked on a pitch-side monitor and confirmed James Troisi had handled a Noone cross.
Wanderers coach Carl Robinson said the VAR's intervention was taking away his enjoyment for the game and thought the ball had hit Troisi's leg before his arm.
"He's jumped and he' turned his back, so I don't know maybe he's Elastic Man, if that's a penalty I don't know, but not in my time," Robinson said.
Maclaren netted again in added time at the end of the match but was denied a hat-trick because of an offside ruling.
"Jamie continues to deliver for this football club," said Buckingham, who praised his striker's link play.
With wingers Noone and Andrew Nabbout producing plenty of danger out wide and Maclaren lurking menacingly in the middle, City were far more dangerous in the first half.
Nabbout smashed a shot against the post and was off target with an unchallenged header from a corner.
Former Premier League player Jordon Mutch made his Wanderers debut as a half-time substitute, but was off target with two shots and collected a yellow card.
Wanderers finally created some decent chances in the last third of the game, especially when they got around the back and delivered good crosses.
Substitute Bruce Kamau had a close-range header well saved by Tom Glover and Thomas Aquilina headed over from close range.
"We're going through a period at the moment the last three days where we have to earn our goals, earn our chances and we are doing that, but we are giving them away too easily," Robinson said.
City's Curtis Good almost increased the lead in the 82nd minute as he powered a close-range header from a corner over the bar before the Wanderers had two goal-bound shots blocked within a couple of seconds.
"We've also shown another side to our game tonight which was that last 20 minutes where defensively we can see out a game and manage a game and that's going to be important to us," Buckingham said.