A battling Western Sydney Wanderers scored a deserved but fortunate late equaliser to hold A-League leaders Sydney to a 1-1 draw in a fast-paced and feisty derby on Saturday.
Adam Le Fondre's 35th-minute tap-in looked set to earn Sydney maximum points, but a dominant second-half effort from Wanderers was rewarded. An 82nd-minute Simon Cox shot from outside the penalty area took a heavy deflection off Kwame Yeboah, which gave Sydney goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne no chance of saving.
Cox and substitute Mo Adam went close for Wanderers in the last few minutes.
Wanderers started the better of the two teams and also had a large portion of play in the second half in a red-blooded encounter full of typical derby intensity, despite the absence of spectators.
Fans' noise that has been a feature of all previous Sydney derbies was missed, as only the voices of the players and those on the bench reverberated around the near-empty stadium.
Sydney moved eight points clear of second-placed Melbourne City, who have played two more games. Wanderers remain eighth, but the point moved them to within one spot of sixth.
They harried Sydney early with their high press, but couldn't turn that into shots on target.
Both sides had a number of first-half shots, before Le Fondre pounced to score his 17th goal of the campaign, after Daniel Lopar pushed a Kosta Barbarouses shot into his path.
Shots and chances were less frequent in the second half, especially from Sydney, who were forced to defend for long periods.
Wanderers' Daniel Georgievski curled a fierce shot just wide and Sydney substitute Harry Van Der Saag was off target on a rare attack by the visitors.
Western Sydney won the two previous derbies 1-0 and are the only team Sydney have yet to beat this season.