Perth Glory were uninspired in a 1-0 defeat to A-League leaders Brisbane Roar.
The Queensland side were always expected to win this contest, and Glory were unable to upset the form guide in Saturday's clash at Suncorp Stadium.
Perth were forced to make a number of changes to their starting line-up due to injuries to William Gallas and Scott Jamieson, as well as the retrospectively implemented suspension of club captain Jacob Burns.
This necessitated the introduction of Steve McGarry in midfield and also made room for the return of star striker Shane Smeltz. Steve Pantelidis also made a start in what would turn out to be his last game for the club, subsequently moving to Malaysian side Selangor FA.
The opening half an hour signalled the pattern that would unfold for much of the match, with Brisbane dominating possession and forcing Perth to remain camped deep inside their own half for long periods.
Glory only ventured out of their own half of the field for infrequent forays forward, which were usually easily cut out, returning possession back to the home side.
The pattern of play was quickly well established, with the Roar attempting to craft intricate passing moves around the penalty area. Albanian forward Besart Berisha was the focal point for most of Brisbane's play, though central defensive duo Pantelidis and Michael Thwaite dealt reasonably well with the big striker, reducing him to snapped half-chances on the turn.
Glory's injury curse continued as New Zealand international Smeltz was forced off around the half hour, replaced by 21-year-old striker Chris Harold.
Incredibly it was Perth who, after weathering the storm for most of the first half, almost took the lead themselves.
Their best chances were always likely to arise from set pieces, and so it proved, with Thwaite's header from a corner cleared off the line by Luke Brattan.
Berisha's powerful forward runs, and the crossing accuracy of former Borussia Mönchengladbach man Thomas Broich continued to be a danger in the second 45-minute period. Inevitably it was the two imports who combined in the 57th minute to break the stubborn Glory resistance.
Broich was allowed far too much time on the edge of the area, and as a passive Perth defence continued to back away, the German threaded a well-placed through ball to Berisha, who escaped the attentions of Pantelidis and fired the ball past Vukovic from the angle.
Glory were forced to abandon their earlier game-plan, which had been based around dogged defensive resilience.
They continued to remain on the back foot however, and Berisha could easily have added a second just moments after the opener. The Albanian international easily brushed aside a statuesque set of Perth defenders and let fly from just inside the area, only to see his effort tipped wide by the outstretched arm of Vukovic.
By now Glory looked shell-shocked, unable to deal with Brisbane's fine movement and intricate passing.
At times it was all too easy for the Roar and they could and should have added to the scoreline.
Glory have now failed to win a match on their travels all season. Even more concerning to Head Coach Alistair Edwards will be his side's lack of goals – the Western Australian outfit have failed to find the net more than once in their opening eight matches.
Perth can perhaps be thankful that they managed to escape Queensland with their dignity intact after an insipid display against a rampant Roar, who will certainly be among the favourites for honours this season.