Central Coast Mariners put an end to their Grand Final heartache today, spoiling Western Sydney Wanderers' fairytale with a resounding triumph in the A-League decider at a packed Allianz Stadium.
Following failures in 2006, 2008 and 2011, the Mariners finally buried their demons with a well-deserved win over a gallant Wanderers outfit in front of more than 42,000 fans.
A first-half goal from veteran defender Patrick Zwaanswijk and Daniel McBreen's second-half penalty sent Graham Arnold's side on their way to victory.
Western Sydney, who secured the Premiers' Plate a few weeks ago, were aiming to finish off a remarkable double success in their debut season, threw everything at Central Coast in the dying minutes but were their efforts were in vain.
The Mariners settled the quickest and were a whisker away from opening the scoring inside ten minutes.
A seemingly hopeful ball forward from defender Trent Sainsbury caught the Wanderers defence square, with Mile Sterjovski beating the offside trap to bear down on goal. As goalkeeper Ante Covic rushed out to pressure Sterjovski, the former Australia forward produced a clever lob which clipped the bar on its way over.
The bumpy surface, a result of the torrential rain that hit Sydney in the lead-up to the game, meant it was difficult for both sides to produce much free-flowing football, but it did not stop chances being created.
The Wanderers' best opportunity arrived on 19 minutes when defending from a corner. Shinji Ono picked up possession in his own box before releasing Mark Bridge in space down the left. Bridge produced a delightful cross into the middle but striker Dino Kresinger was just unable to get his head on it.
But it was the Mariners who continued to muster the better opportunities and they went close twice within a minute.
First Sainsbury failed to connect when the ball fell to him at close range after the Wanderers failed to clear a corner, then Josh Rose got into a good position down the left but his low, fizzing cross was a fraction too far in front of Bernie Ibini at the far post.
Just when it looked like the sides would go in at half-time level, the Mariners struck a minute before the interval. Zwaanswijk shrugged off the attention of Kresinger to rise highest and bury Michael McGlinchey's cross past a stranded Covic.
The Wanderers started with a lot more purpose after the break but were still finding it hard to put any pressure on Mat Ryan's goal. The Mariners continued to look threatening themselves going forward and got the decisive second midway through the half.
As Daniel McBreen and Jerome Polenz battled for the ball inside the Wanderers' box, the ball popped up and struck the defender on the arm. McBreen, who had missed his last two spot-kicks, made no mistake this time for his 19th goal of the season to send the Mariners fans into a frenzy.