Mariners boss proud

Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold says the performances of his Hyundai A-League leaders in the first 12 rounds have given him tremendous pride.

Central Coast Mariners coach Graham Arnold says the performances of his Hyundai A-League leaders in the first 12 rounds have given him tremendous pride.

The Mariners strengthened their grip on top spot with a 3-1 thumping of the Glory in Perth on Friday night, thanks to second half goals to Bernie Ibini, Pedj Bojic and Matt Simon.

Victory over Glory, who finished the game with 10 men after defender Josh Mitchell was sent off in the 26th minute, saw Central Coast move five points clear at the top of the table.

Their sixth straight victory put Arnold's side in a position even he wasn't sure they were capable of before the season.

"If you said at the start of the season I'd be having Christmas dinner and we'd be on top of the league I probably wouldn't have believed you," he said.

"I'm extremely proud of the players, particularly the way they keep working and fighting for each other ... it's a joy to turn up to training with them."

"But, as I said to the boys, it's only 12 rounds, we've got another 15 to go. We've got six games coming up in 22 days in January, February we've got four or five players going to the Olympics and in March we've got (Asian Champions League) involved."

Arnold said the way the Mariners put in another stellar performance after their impressive 2-1 win at Brisbane the previous round had particularly pleased him.

"We had a big game last week against Brisbane away from home and they put a lot of energy into that game," he said.

"And we had a virus go through the camp this week, we had four or five players who weren't feeling that well."

"The character and the performance, especially in the second half, was excellent ... it was a fantastic performance from the boys."

After Mitchell's red card, Central Coast struggled to create chances late in the first half, but that all changed when Ibini put them ahead in the 49th minute.

Arnold was full of praise for 19-year-old Ibini, who continued a stellar season with another impressive performance.

"The young kid is doing fantastic," Arnold said.

"He's always a danger with his pace and the way he's positive. The way he runs at people is dangerous."

"His goal took a little bit of pressure off because the Mariners as a club in the past have always struggled to play against 10 men."

Central Coast's next match is against the struggling Gold Coast at home on December 31.