Melbourne Victory kept pressure on their top-six rivals with a 2-0 win over a 10-man Mariners in Gosford on Sunday afternoon.
Victory, minus Barbarouses, Bozanic and Ansell, started the contest in control and took the lead inside 15 minutes with a superb opener.
Mariner Micky Neill’s red card just minutes into the second half would have infuriated coach Tony Walmsley.
Victory remained in control as the game but Kevin Muscat's men couldn't finish off the Mariners, squandering a string of gilt-edged chances to finish off the home side.
But a late second goal on 90 minutes to Victory's Fahid Ben Khalfallah ended any chances for the home side to nick a comeback.
The Big V saw out their third game in 11 days to pick up three precious points on the road on a warm day on the Central Coast.
Victory winger Jai Ingham was outstanding for the visitors.
12’ 0-1 Berisha - A pin-point cross-field ball from Delpierre found Ingham on the right wing and his dangerous cross into the box found Besart Berisha who got in front of the defender and glanced the ball past Paul Izzo. Superb lead up and execution.
90’ 0-2 Ben Khalfallah - Geria found Ingham and the best player on the ground crossed for FBK to slot home and finish off the home side.
A second yellow to Mariner Micky Neill in just the 48th minute made the comeback even harder.
The opening goal was all class with two experienced stars and a rising star combining beautifully. The Big V’s only effort on goal in the first half and it was clinically executed.
Mariners winger Mitch Austin came off in the first half with what’s understood to be a back injury. It’s believed he tweaked it in training the day before.
THE FINAL WORD
The Mariners conceded for a 24th straight game. While they show some promise in the attacking third, defence will surely be Tony Walmsley’s main focus this off-season.
Added to that, discipline again cost them after Neill’s second yellow on 48 minutes which pretty much killed off their chances of a comeback.