Alison Logue delivered a goalkeeping masterclass and proved the difference as Merewether seized the competition lead with a 2-0 win over Broadmeadow at Magic Park on Saturday.
In a player-of-the-match performance, the former W-League shot-stopper was impassable.
Her heroics included denying Kobie Ferguson from the penalty spot when the game was locked at 0-0 as well as several point-blank saves. There was one moment late in the game where she stopped a header at the front post before preventing the rebound shot at the back post with a sprinting dive.
The win propelled Merewether to 26 points, one ahead of Magic, and could end up determining the Herald Women's Premier League minor premiership with three rounds remaining until finals. United still have a game in hand and now face a weekend double-header against Mid Coast.
The top-of-the-table clash on Saturday was end to end in the early stages with both teams putting chances wide of the goals before Magic were awarded a penalty in the 23rd minute for a handball in the box.
Ferguson stepped up to take the spot kick but her shot, which was low and to the the right, was denied by Logue, who parried then scrambled to regather the rebound.
United took a 1-0 advantage into the break after Tamara Nash met Rhali Dobson's cross to score from close range in the 44th. Lori Depczynski made it 2-0 in the 51st when she tapped in off a corner.
It was third game in a week for Merewether and coach Scott Ellis described the win as "a relief".
"They're a good side and the midweek game was noticeable for us with the legs a little bit heavier than we would've liked," Ellis said. "Was it an ugly win? Yes, it probably was, but it was a win.
"Alison Logue was player of the match, no doubt about that. She pulled off some incredible saves. It's a cliche but the great players stand up in the big games - that's her in a nutshell. This was a big game. She stood up and had a massive game.
"Jake's probably feeling a bit unlucky, but that's football. It's a game of moments. You've got to win the big moments. Al won the big moments in front of our goal and we just managed to secure the moments in front of their goals. But, when your goalkeeper is the man of the match, that gives you a sense of the game."
Magic coach Jake Curley said Logue was "100 per cent the difference".
"They took the chances they had and we couldn't take the chances we had, mainly because their goalkeeper was outstanding," Curley said.
"We've lost two games this year, both games were like that and there's nothing I can say to say there's anything that we need to fix. Because it's not like we didn't create chances. It's not like we didn't have five or six opportunities to win."
Newcastle Olympic joined Magic on 25 points after snatching a 2-1 victory over Adamstown with a penalty in the final minute of play at Adamstown Oval on Sunday. Georgia Little gave Olympic a 1-0 lead before Kimmie Trappett equalised before the break. Jemma House secured the win with a spot kick after she was fouled in the box. Rosebud stayed on 13 but dropped to sixth.
Jen Hoy scored five goals as Warners Bay (18) consolidated fourth place with a 9-0 rout of Thornton (0) at John Street Oval on Sunday. Elodie Dagg bagged a double and Ellie Brown and Georgia Cook also scored.
Mid Coast kept alive their finals hopes when they improved to 15 points and fifth place with a 3-0 win over New Lambton (4) in Taree on Sunday. Layni Fens, Jess James and Chelsea Hall all scored.
Round 11 results:
Merewether 2 (Tamara Nash, Lori Depzcynski) defeated Broadmeadow 0 at Magic Park. Half-time: Merewether led 1-0.
Newcastle Olympic 2 (Georgia Little, Jemma House pen) beat Adamstown 1 (Kimmie Trappett) at Adamstown Oval. Half-time: 1-1.
Warners Bay 9 (Jenna Hoy 5, Elodie Dagg 2, Ellie Brown, Georgia Cook) beat Thornton 0 at John Street Oval. Half-time: Warners Bay led 5-0.
Mid Coast 3 (Layni Fens, Jess James, Chelsea Hall) downed New Lambton 0 at Taree Zone Field. Half-time: Mid Coast led 1-0.
Merewether 26, Olympic 25, Magic 25, Warners Bay 18, Mid Coast 15, Adamstown 13, New Lambton 4, Thornton 0.
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