The Central Coast Mariners responded to a testing week off the field with a hard-earned 2-0 victory over Adelaide United on Sunday.
With the Mariners’ financial woes in the spotlight and speculation of an interstate relocation rife, Graham Arnold’s men admirably continue to get the job done on the park.
A third-minute goal to Daniel McBreen proved the difference, with the Reds – winless against Central Coast since 2009 – unable to muster an equaliser over the next 87 minutes.
Substitute Mile Sterjovski then added icing to the cake with a piercing strike well into injury time, having just come on for Mitchell Duke well after the 90-minute mark.
The Mariners’ win keeps them in the hunt to win the Premiers’ Plate, while the Reds will need to regroup quickly with finals just around the corner.
Meanwhile, Brisbane Roar put in one of their most convincing performances of the season to defeat Melbourne Heart 2-0.
The dominance displayed by Brisbane in the first half at Suncorp Stadium resulted in a two-goal lead at the break, thanks to a penalty from Besart Berisha and a Thomas Broich wonder-strike.
The Roar took their foot off the gas in the second half but the result never really looked in doubt, and a surprisingly subdued Melbourne Heart now bow out of finals contention.
Brisbane jump to fifth place on the A-League ladder, meaning a win in Thursday’s blockbuster fixture against Sydney FC will guarantee them finals football.