Western Sydney Wanderers returned to the top of the A-League as two defensive mistakes handed them a 2-1 victory over 10-man Central Coast Mariners.
Goals from Mark Bridge and Brendon Santalab were enough to secure all three points for Tony Popovic’s side, seeing them climb back above Brisbane Roar into first place.
After Romeo Castelen had wasted two early chances for the Wanderers they were gifted the opening goal on 11 minutes.
A loose pass from Storm Roux gave Bridge a free run at goal and he duly converted the chance, capping his 100th Wanderers performance with his sixth of the season.
Wanderers – who had lost their last two league matches – could have doubled their lead before the break but Dario Vidosic’s effort rattled the crossbar.
Slowly the Mariners – who introduced new signing Luis Garcia on 57 minutes – came back into the game and they levelled things up just after the hour, Wanderers keeper Andrew Redmayne beaten by Fabio Ferreira from close range.
The momentum swung back towards Wanderers with 11 minutes to play, though, when Nick Montgomery was shown a straight red card for a rash two-footed lunge on Gol-Gol Mebrahtu.
Eventually Wanderers’ advantage told, although it came from another Mariners defensive error – this time from Michael Neill, his misplaced pass enabling Kearyn Baccus to fire a low low cross into the penalty area.
Goalkeeper Paul Izzo could only parry the ball to the feet of Santaleb who coolly tapped into the unguarded goal to secure victory against the league’s bottom club.
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