Central Coast have opened up a four-point lead at the top of the A-League ladder after edging out Western Sydney 2-0 on Sunday night.
In an absorbing contest at Parramatta Stadium it was two goals to veteran striker Daniel McBreen that proved the difference, with the Mariners surviving a spirited effort from the home side to come away with the win in front of more than 16,000 fans.
The Wanderers’ cause wasn’t helped when midfielder Jason Trifiro was sent off 10 minutes into the second half for a silly tackle on Nick Montgomery.
After already receiving a caution in the first half, Trifiro was late and high when fighting for possession and referee Chris Beath had no choice but to show a second yellow card.
Despite their numerical disadvantage the Wanderers continued to push hard for an equaliser, with substitute Labinot Haliti going close on a couple of occasions in the last 15 minutes.
But the Mariners held on before adding a second goal in the last minute of stoppage time to register their 10th win of the season and open up a handy buffer over Adelaide in second spot.
Earlier, Melbourne Heart moved into the top six after holding on for an entertaining 3-2 win over the Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park.
The Heart recorded back-to-back wins for the first time since February 2012 after goals from David Williams, Josip Tadic and Fred.
Referee Alan Milliner sent Williams off in the 67th minute but the Heart held on despite Besart Berisha’s late brace.
It was their second win over the Roar this season, following on from the 4-1 belting they handed the reigning champions in November last year.
While the Heart will finish the weekend in sixth, Mike Mulvey’s Roar are seventh as their poor form on the road this campaign continued.