Mariners take advantage of Roar draw
Central Coast Mariners extended their lead at the top of the A-League table to 11 points as they came from behind to beat Adelaide United 3-2 at the Bluetongue Stadium.
Josh Rose scored the winner for the Mariners 12 minutes from time to set a new club record of 15 matches unbeaten, and enhance their chances of winning the regular-season title as their closest challengers, Brisbane Roar, could only draw 1-1 at Melbourne Heart.
The Mariners have dropped below their best in recent weeks but normal service looked to have resumed for the A-League front-runners when, after 15 minutes, striker Daniel McBreen put his side ahead.
Strike partner Bernie Ibini's persistence won a free-kick on the left and, though Michael McGlinchey's effort was partially cleared, Pedj Bojic sped down the outside of Osama Malik on the right and McBreen headed his neat cross home at the near post.
Rare defensive errors
But Adelaide made the most of a rare lapse in concentration by the league leaders, with their normally dominant central defensive partnership losing two costly one-on-one duels in three minutes.
First Adelaide's in-form target man Sergio van Dijk dropped off the back of Patrick Zwaanswijk to profit from a precise lofted pass from Fabian Barbiero, the Dutchman having time to take three touches in the six-yard box before slotting home.
Then it was Bruce Djite's turn as he outmuscled Alex Wilkinson to get on the end of Cameron Watson's long throw and score the simplest of goals. Adam Kwasnik fired in a left-footed equaliser before Rose reacted first, after Adelaide goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic had parried McBreen's initial shot, to grab the winner.
Melbourne took the lead against Brisbane as Argentinian midfielder Jonatan Germano headed home after half an hour. Besart Berisha, in the Roar line-up after appealing against a one-match ban, fired over from the penalty spot in the first half before heading home from Ivan Franjic's cross with 20 minutes to go.