Central Coast will challenge Adelaide for top spot on the A-League ladder on Saturday night after clinching a drought-breaking home victory over Brisbane.
The Mariners downed the Roar 2-1 in stifling conditions in Gosford tonight, thanks to an 81st-minute strike from 19-year-old recently-capped Socceroo Tomas Rogic.
The classy Rogic's straightforward finish was set up by a desperate header from teammate Michael McGlinchey to prevent a free kick from sailing over the end-line.
It gave the Mariners their first win over the Roar in Gosford, having lost to them nine times at home previously and drawn four times.
The Roar's loss left the champions of the past two seasons second-last.
Significantly, the second-placed Mariners narrowed the gap to the top-placed Reds to two points.
Those two sides will meet in Gosford on Saturday night and both will take in five-game unbeaten streaks.
The Mariners have won four of their past five matches, with the other a valiant 2-2 draw with Melbourne Victory last weekend after they were reduced to 10 men early in the second half.
Central Coast also have three wins from as many home games this campaign.
Adelaide will carry similarly hot form into the top-of-the-table clash.
Friday night's hard-fought 2-1 away victory over Sydney gave the Reds four wins and a draw from their past five games.
Adelaide also needed a late winner, in-form Dario Vidosic scoring in the 88th-minute to hand the Sky Blues a fourth straight defeat and second under caretaker coach Steve Corica.
The brightest news for bottom-placed Sydney was the A-League return of ex-Socceroo Jason Culina, who played 23 minutes in his first game in almost two years.
Third-placed Melbourne Victory are also building strong form, overcoming a controversial first-half send-off for an impressive 2-0 away win over Western Sydney on Saturday night.
It was the Victory's first clean sheet of the season and gave them three wins and a draw in their past four games.
They'll host fifth-placed Perth at AAMI Park on Friday night.
The Glory are coming off a 1-1 home draw with Wellington Phoenix on Saturday night, in which Shane Smeltz scored his first goal of the season and Wellington's Jeremy Brockie his fifth in four games.
In Saturday night's other match, fourth-placed Newcastle came from 2-0 down at halftime to draw 3-3 with Melbourne Heart at AAMI Park, an 87th-minute Ryan Griffiths penalty earning them a point.
But their defence is a concern, having conceded 10 goals in their past four games.
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