A-LEAGUE champions Brisbane Roar have ended Central Coast's 15-game undefeated streak and kept alive their premiership hopes with a 2-0 victory over the Mariners at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday.
To have any hope of finishing in top spot heading into the finals the third-placed Roar desperately needed the three points at Gosford.
Coach Ange Postecoglou was after a response from his players after last week’s defeat against Newcastle and would have been proud of his players, who turned in one of their best performances in weeks.
Roar got the points courtesy of first half goals to Erik Paartalu and Besart Berisha.
Paartalu gave his team the ideal start when he struck the opener in the fifth minute.
Thomas Broich and former Central Coast player Nick Fitzgerald played a key part in the build up to the goal which was finished well by Paartalu.
Both teams had chances in what was a free-flowing first half in front of 10, 217 spectators at Bluetongue Stadium.
Broich came close to doubling Brisbane's lead in the 18th minute but his powerful drive struck the post, while at the other end of the field striker Troy Hearfield had two good chances for the Mariners.
Hearfield's first chance came in the 31st minute when the Mariners made a quick break after Brisbane had a penalty claim turned down.
Hearfield's free header did not hit the target and six minutes later the striker had a goalbound shot brilliantly blocked by Mohamed Adnan.
Berisha then made sure Brisbane went to the break in complete control when he beat Mariners goalkeeper Justin Pasfield to score the second goal in the 38th minute.
For long periods of the second half the Mariners bombarded the Roar defence but could not get a crucial goal to put them back in the contest.
Striker Adam Kwasnik came on at half-time and was busy for the home side and Daniel McBreen had a penalty claim turned down for the Mariners four minutes into the second half.
Central Coast had all the ball after that incident without really testing Roar goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos.
Brisbane struggled to get a touch of the ball for long periods and did well to keep the resurgent Mariners scoreless.
Fitzgerald came agonisingly close to sealing the points in the 77th minute when his shot from close range was blocked by Pasfield and just failed to cross the line.
It was the Mariners first defeat since a 1-0 loss to the Newcastle Jets in round three and first loss at Bluetongue Stadium in nearly a year.
It was only Brisbane's third away win of the campaign and first since a 2-1 win over Newcastle in November.
Central Coast 0
Brisbane 2 (Paartalu 5', Berisha 38')