- Associated Press - Friday, December 4, 2015

SYDNEY (AP) - Alex Brosque’s 50th A-League goal in the second half gave Sydney FC a 1-0 win over Newcastle amid an ongoing fan boycott on Friday.

For the first time in the club’s 11-year history, Sydney FC played a home match without the support of its active fan group, The Cove. There were a season-low 9,155 spectators, and an absence of chants usually heard from the Western Stand area of Sydney Football Stadium.

The boycott was in response to Football Federation Australia’s response to a newspaper article publishing the names of 198 banned spectators, and complaints that FFA failed to consider an appeal from the those fans. FFA has since said it would review the procedure for banning spectators.

“It’s not great,” defender Matt Jurman said. “The Cove’s got our support … but hopefully it gets sorted sooner rather than later.”

Sydney chief executive Tony Pignata described the atmosphere as “very, very strange.”

“We really missed them, and speaking to some of the players they felt that as well,” Pignata said. “We understand why they’re doing it and support them, but hopefully we can get them back soon because without The Cove there’s just no atmosphere, and it really told tonight.”

On Thursday, Melbourne City beat Central Coast 5-1.

Similar fan protests are planned at Parramatta Stadium on Saturday when the Western Sydney Wanderers and their usually vocal support groups host Brisbane. The league-leading Melbourne Victory play at Wellington, New Zealand in Saturday’s other match while Adelaide hosts Perth on Sunday to conclude the ninth round.

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