Victory too good for Mariners

Melbourne has continued its brilliant run of home form, outclassing the Central Coast Mariners 3-0 at Telstra Dome to keep the pressure on Adelaide in the race for the Hyundai A-League Premiership.

Melbourne has continued its brilliant run of home form, outclassing the Central Coast Mariners 3-0 at Telstra Dome to keep the pressure on Adelaide in the race for the Hyundai A-League Premiership.

All three goals came in a seven-minute burst from the 68th minute with Danny Allsopp netting his 11th of the season before Carlos Hernandez made it 2-0 with a well-taken free kick. Archie Thompson then broke his four-game goalless drought with a well-deserved goal to seal the game with 15 minutes left.

Melbourne has now won five home games on the trot, including its past three against other teams inside the top four and moves into top spot on the ladder ahead of Adelaide's match against Wellington on Sunday.

Central Coast will also be eying the result of that match having failed to seal a spot in the finals as yet. Just three points ahead of the Phoenix, the Mariners have now lost two on the bounce against other top four teams and have conceded seven goals in 180 minutes of football. They will also be without Dean Heffernan, who was red carded late on, and Andrew Clark, who picked up his fifth booking of the season, for next week's home match against the Reds.

Probably the best chance of the first half fell to Allsopp inside the first five minutes. The Melbourne striker won possession from Alex Wilkinson, then put in a surprising turn off foot to power into the box but hit the upright with his shot.

Central Coast's greatest threat came from either corners or on the break. Brad Porter's curling corner in the 19th minute had Michael Theoklitos at full stretch to keep it out of the net, while Nik Mrdja rattled the side netting after profiting from a Melbourne mistake.

Ney Fabiano was the other player who could have well been on the scoresheet in the first half, after a neat pass from Allsopp put him through on Danny Vukovic, but the Brazilian toed his effort wide.

Early in the second half, Wilkinson's intervention cut off Ney Fabiano's well hit shot, while the Mariners wasted four clear chances, the best of which fell to Matt Simon and Clark.

Simon somehow shot over when bearing down on Theoklitos, while Clark rose well from a corner but the subsequent header went wide.

It took a great save from Danny Vukovic to deny Nick Ward from a similar situation just after the hour and then Allsopp couldn't find the net with his follow-up effort.

However, the Victory striker was on target the next time he had a chance on 68 minutes. After some static build-up play, Thompson took control, turning quickly and outpacing Pedj Bojic. His cross was so inch-perfect that Allsopp had to do was get his boot on the ball.

That was all the momentum Melbourne needed and two minutes later Hernandez won a free kick on the edge of the box. His powerful low shot went through the wall, leaving Vukovic no hope of stopping it.

Five minutes later it was 3-0, when Allsopp returned the favour to Thompson, flicking on a header and putting his strike partner into space. Thompson's finish was sublime, completely wrong-footing the keeper and securing the points.

Melbourne turned on the magic in the final 15 minutes but despite plenty of chance couldn't add another goal. The Mariners, meanwhile, had Heffernan sent off for a reckless forearm to the face of Kevin Muscat to further sour a disappointing night.

Ernie Merrick praised the influence of Thompson after the match.

"Well I think I predicted that I would be very surprised if he didn-t score. He has been buzzing at training and he has been a bit lucky today, but he setup the first and scored one himself and nearly scored another," he said.

Melbourne Victory 3 (Allsopp 68, Hernandez 71, Thompson 75) Central Coast Mariners 0 Crowd: 24,003 at Telstra Dome