Mariners double the dose

For the second time this season, Central Coast has taken all three points home from a trip to Melbourne with the Mariners stunning the defending champions 4-0 at Etihad Stadium in their most emphatic performance of the season.

For the second time this season, Central Coast has taken all three points home from a trip to Melbourne with the Mariners stunning the defending champions 4-0 at Etihad Stadium in their most emphatic performance of the season.

Central Coast came into the game with just one win in its past six matches, but rubbished suggestions that it was too defensive a team by knocking four past Melbourne, the most the Victory have ever conceded on home soil.

Adam Kwasnik set the Mariners on their way with a goal in the 15th minute before Matt Simon made it 2-0 on 75 minutes. Five minutes later, Dean Heffernan added another goal before Nik Mrdja sealed the deal.

The win, the Mariners' equal best in their history, allows them to keep in touch with the top three on 20 points, while Melbourne's equal worse loss sees it squander its chance of taking top spot.

There were a few decent chances for the home side inside the first 15 minutes, with Carlos Hernandez curling a free kick over and heading wide either side of a fumble by Danny Vukovic which almost let Sutee Suksomkit in.

The Mariners' first real chance ended up in the net. Nicky Travis won possession in the midfield and charged towards goal unleashing a shot which Glen Moss could only parry. Kwasnik was there to meet the rebound with an improvised athletic aerial shot which lobbed the Victory keeper and landed in the net. It initially looked like Kwasnik had suffered a knee injury, but he recovered to take his place on the field.

Melbourne was sparked into action by the goal and Hernandez went close with a long shot which beat Vukovic but curled just wide, while some desperate defence from Nigel Boogaard denied Archie Thompson.

The game then fell into a lull as the Mariners, with the comfort of a one-goal lead, began to suck the oxygen out of the contest. Melbourne's next chance didn't come until the shadows of half-time when a quick piece of thinking from Mate Dugandzic released Thompson from the dead ball and it took a fine save from the in-form Mariners keeper to preserve the visitors' lead at the break.

Matthew Lewis, starting in his first Hyundai A-League game, had two excellent chances inside the first 10 minutes of the second half. The first produced an excellent one-handed save from Moss, while the second flew way over the bar after some good work from Pedj Bojic.

Melbourne had brought on Surat Sukha at half-time and the Thai international was heavily involved as the home side squandered two chances inside a minute. Adrian Leijer's cross found Suksomkit alone at the far post, by his shot was blocked by a defender, then Sukha fired just wide from the resultant corner.

Both sides shuffled up their attacks on the hour with Victory brining on Ney Fabiano and Nathan Elasi and the Mariners replacing the goal-scorer Kwasnik with Mrdja.

For the better part of 10 minutes, Melbourne laid siege to the Mariners goal, but a combination of poor finishing and stubborn Central Coast defence saw the visiting side weather the storm.

Then the game was sealed when Travis, the most influential man on the pitch, provided his second assist, looping in a corner for Simon to head on target. The shot took a deflection off Rody Vargas' shoulder but it was the end, not the means the Mariners were celebrating.

Fabiano tried his best to respond, forcing a magnificent save from Vukovic before then heading narrowly wide from the corner.

But the points were secured with 10 minutes left, when Bojic broke clear down the left, slotted it back for Dean Heffernan who slid a shot underneath Moss and into the net.

On 84 minutes, Melbourne's humiliation was complete when Moss came for a ball, but it fell to substitute Andrew Clark, who knocked it back for Mrdja to net his first goal of the season.

Melbourne Victory 0 Central Coast Mariners 4 (Kwasnik 15, Simon 75, Heffernan 80, Mrdja 84) Crowd: 18, 531 at Etihad Stadium