McKinna rapt with complete display

Lawrie McKinna celebrated his century of Hyundai A-League matches with one of the best results of his five-season tenure at the Central Coast Mariners.

Lawrie McKinna celebrated his century of Hyundai A-League matches with one of the best results of his five-season tenure at the Central Coast Mariners.

The 3-0 win over competition leaders Gold Coast United pushed the Mariners into second spot part way through round seven with the performance impressing as much as the scoreline.

The comprehensive manner of the result and the all-round team showing a sure sign that the Mariners have turned the corner after a horror winless streak over the final part of their last Hyundai A-League season and their AFC Champions League campaign.

The match could ultimately prove to be a pivotal moment for the Mariners' season, and indeed even the club's recent history.

Conversely it will now be up to Gold Coast United to bounce back from the heaviest defeat in the club's short history and prove that the result is merely a blip rather than a genuine downtown in fortunes for the competition form side.

United coach Miron Bleiberg was in a rational mood after the match, pointing to the impressive Mariners performance and the numerous absentees as a significant factor in the team's unusually subdued showing.

"I think we, as the Gold Coast, I think our reputation went ahead of us and every team that we play against plays out of their skin," Bleiberg said.

The competition leaders were without the injured trio of midfielder Robson, striker Joel Porter and goalkeeper Scott Higgins who was a late withdrawal thanks to a shoulder injury, while Zenon Caravella was also absent due to the birth of his first child.

The changes meant a Hyundai A-League debut for Jess Vanstrattan, and a first start for teenage striker Golgol Mebrahtu.

The second-half dismissal of star goalscorer Shane Smeltz and the subsequent automatic one-week suspension, plus the ongoing absence of Tahj Minniecon at the FIFA U-20 World Cup, means Bleiberg will again be scratching for attacking options for next week's home blockbuster against Melbourne Victory.

There will be no such concerns for McKinna as his side prepares to travel to Wellington, with Nik Mrdja forced to cool his heels on the bench on Saturday night as Matt Simon and Dylan Macallister started in the forward line.

McKinna made four changes to the side which limped to a 1-0 defeat in Adelaide last week, with the performance against the competition's glamour side suggesting the balance is now right.

"It was a good opportunity to go out and play football," said McKinna.

"The movement off the ball was great, and last week we didn't create a lot and today we did."

"Whether Smeltz got sent off or not we would have won that game and deserved to win it."

"Over 90 minutes this was the most consistent (performance of the season)."

"I thought the two guys up front led the line well, the four boys in midfield were outstanding and the boys at the back were solid. Overall, it was very pleasing."

"Nobody ever believes in us, so that doesn't make any difference to us, but I don't think anybody will be able to say we played long ball and were direct after tonight, because we kept the ball very well and frustrated the Gold Coast into having to go long."