Simon's perfect farewell

Matt Simon played out a fairytale finale in front of his adoring Central Coast fans as the Mariners saw off Melbourne Victory 2-0 at Bluetongue Stadium in an action-packed affair.

Matt Simon played out a fairytale finale in front of his adoring Central Coast fans as the Mariners saw off Melbourne Victory 2-0 at Bluetongue Stadium in an action-packed affair.

The K-League-bound striker would not have dared dream of a farewell performance featuring two match-winning goals for his league-leading hometown club but that's what he got before making a tearful exit to a standing ovation from the 12,284 fans who had flocked to send him off on a high.

His early and late strikes - the first coming after just 18 seconds - bookended a thrilling match that ultimately saw the Mariners extend their lead to six points and pour more pressure on Victory, who suffered a third consecutive defeat.

Melbourne-s defence failed to switch on at the first whistle and a slip by Matthew Foschini, a misdirected header by Roddy Vargas and a hesitation by Petar Franjic combined to allow Troy Hearfield to tee up an unmarked Simon for a stunning opener.

The early goal set the tone for a frantic first half hour. Daniel McBreen tested Ante Covic with a header before Matt Ryan defused Carlos Hernandez's near post effort following good work by Archie Thompson.

Victory's deadly duo combined to greater effect in the 17th minute as Harry Kewell fed Thompson in behind the Mariners defence to help the striker pick out Hernandez, but the Costa Rican's cheeky clip around Ryan was beaten to the line by Pedj Bojic, who coolly played out from under his own crossbar.

Covic held Hearfield's ball across goal as the Mariners launched a quick counter but the fill-in striker wasn't finished there. Two superb passes from Bojic behind a static Victory defence created clear opportunities for Hearfield but Covic expertly denied him on both occasions.

Season stand-out Bojic continued to terrorise Victory's left in the 36th minute as his 60-yard run past two players brought the fans to their feet but his intelligent cutback was sent screwing high and wide by McBreen from the top of the box.

Man-of-the-hour Simon was again in the action early in the second half as he forced Covic to save low to his right from a tight angle and from a resulting throw, an untracked McBreen headed over from right in front when Bozanic's titanic heave caught the defence by surprise.

Graham Arnold's men soon settled into a more conservative structure as Hernandez and co set about breaking down the A-League's stingiest defence.

Hearfield pulled up short on the hour mark and his replacement Bernie Ibini sought to take advantage of the space available on the counter. McGlinchey slid the fresh man in for a golden chance to finish the match off but his powerful strike rebounded off the post and McGlinchey fired a rapid rebound over an empty goal.

The sides traded further chances as the match caught fire again with 20 minutes to play and Victory coach Mehmet Durakovic injected Marco Rojas and Danny Allsopp in an effort to find an equaliser.

But it was Simon who would have the final say as he took on an isolated Franjic and wrong-footed Covic with a low shot from 15 yards to seal the result.

Central Coast 2 (Simon 2) Melbourne Victory 0