Melbourne Victory have made up ground in the Premiership race after accounting for the Central Coast Mariners 3-0 in Gosford on Sunday afternoon.
The visitors produced a dominant performance in the final match of Round 20, with Besart Berisha - playing in his 150th Hyundai A-League match - opening the scoring midway through the first half.
Victory could’ve been out of sight at the break with a long range shot from James Troisi cannoning off the woodwork, while Marco Rojas skewed an effort just wide of the far post.
The Mariners, who had been chasing their fourth straight win, enjoyed long stretches of possession throughout the contest but failed to really trouble Lawrence Thomas.
Instead Troisi grabbed his fifth goal of the campaign after the interval with a thumping strike, while Berisha iced the result in the final minute of regulation time.
The win sees Kevin Muscat’s side close the gap to league leaders Sydney FC to eight points ahead of their original rivalry clash against the Reds next weekend.
Meanwhile the Mariners are now five points adrift of the top six following the Wanderers win in the Sydney Derby, with their upcoming F3 Derby shaping as a must-win.
0-1 Melbourne Victory: Besart Berisha, 26’
The visitors showed great poise around the Mariners box, with Marco Rojas picking out the overlapping run of Daniel Georgievski, who squared the ball expertly to give Berisha a tap in.
0-2 Melbourne Victory: James Troisi, 58’
The Victory forward picked the pocket of Jake McGing, darting into the box before unleashing a thumping left-footed strike from an acute angle that flew into the roof of the net.
0-3 Melbourne Victory: Besart Berisha, 90’
An errant back pass from the Mariners allowed the Albanian striker to pounce and he took full advantage, dribbling around a defender before firing past Paul Izzo.
Re-live the action on Twitter
@ALeague, @CCMariners, @gomvfc, #CCMvMVC