Victory down Reds to go top

Melbourne Victory is in a strong position to win the Hyundai A-League premiership and a spot in the 2010 ACL Champions League after it defeated Adelaide United 1-0 at Telstra Dome on Tuesday night.

Melbourne Victory is in a strong position to win the Hyundai A-League premiership and a spot in the 2010 ACL Champions League after it defeated Adelaide United 1-0 at Telstra Dome on Tuesday night.

Nick Ward's header from a Billy Celeski corner just prior to the hour mark was all that separated the teams, but it was enough to give Melbourne a valuable three points and move it back to the top of the Hyundai A-League ladder.

The win sees Melbourne (32 points) move two points clear from its nearest rival (Adelaide), although United has a game in hand as the season draws to a close.

Melbourne started the top-of-the-table clash brightly and created a host of chances within the first 10 minutes, without seriously threatening Eugene Galekovic in Adelaide's goal.

With Carlos Hernandez and Ward combining well in the middle of the park, Melbourne had six attempts on goal in the first quarter of an hour, before Adelaide created its first real chance.

That opportunity fell to Cassio and although his attempt had Michael Theoklitos diving at his near post, it sailed wide.

Adelaide had another chance after half an hour, with Travis Dodd creating an opportunity wide on the right, but Rody Vargas was there to clear the trouble.

Then right on the stroke of half-time Danny Allsopp tried his luck from outside the box with a powerful strike, but he couldn't beat Galekovic as the teams went to the break without a goal.

The second stanza started just like the first, with Melbourne dominating possession and attacking at every opportunity.

And after winning a second corner in just as many minutes, Celeski floated in a lovely cross for Ward to nod home the opener - his second of the campaign - and give Melbourne a much deserved lead.

Five minutes later Cristiano should have leveled proceedings, but Theoklitos once again parried the ball wide in a tremendous display of goalkeeping that kept the visitors at bay.

Sensing that a few of his players were starting to tire, Ernie Merrick introduced Ney Fabiano and Grant Brebner into the game within five minutes of each other and the move once again straightened up the home side and gave it the ability to move forward with conviction.

Allsopp shot wide after some sloppy defending from United, before Ward had a chance to score his brace with another header, but he too couldn't find the back of the net.

Adelaide attempted to up the tempo and pushed forward in search of an equaliser, but the Melbourne defence - marshaled superbly by Kevin Muscat and Vargas - held firm to ensure the three points were safe.

Melbourne Victory 1 (Ward 58') Adelaide United 0 Crowd: 27,196 at Telstra Dome