|By HAMISH NEAL
The Central Coast Mariners extended their unbeaten streak to five matches on Sunday, claiming a 2-1 triumph over Brisbane Roar in Gosford.
Bernie Ibini gave the home side an early lead before Massimo Murdocca hit back for the Roar and Socceroo Tomas Rogic scored the decisive goal in the 81st minute to see the Mariners move to within two points of A-League leaders Adelaide.
The match started in hot conditions and the Mariners began brightly, with Ibini's second goal of the season coming in the fourth minute.
The Nigerian-born striker headed home past Michael Theo after a Pedj Bojic cross from the right edge of the penalty box.
The Mariners could have doubled their lead in the 18th minute but a Rogic strike hit the left hand upright.
Brisbane enjoyed a period of dominance after that miss, including chances to Murdocca and Eric Paartalu, who blazed over the cross-bar just before the half-hour mark.
Four minutes later Murdocca struck just his third goal in eight seasons when he blasted home a shot from the edge of area after a corner from Thomas Broich.
Two minutes after the equaliser the match hit a major flashpoint when two yellow cards were issued following the aftermath of a Bersart Berisha tackle on the Mariners Trent Sainsbury.
Berisha and Mariners striker Daniel McBreen were issued with cautions when sparks flew after the tackle.
The fracas included an apparent head-butt from Albanian striker Berisha on Mariners captain John Hutchinson.
Brisbane had a chance to take the lead into the break after a Broich corner was not collected by Ryan. However Maltese international Hutchison was in the action again, this time clearing the ball off the line to preserve the 1-1 scoreline.
Brisbane dominated possession in the second half, but the Mariners spurned two good chances in the 65th minute.
Firstly McBreen was wasteful after Rogic had sliced through the Roar defence and then Sainsbury headed over the bar from the ensuing corner kick.
Those misses did not matter, however, when Rogic netted 10 minutes from the end and Mariners substitute striker Mitchell Duke struck the crossbar late on, but failed to extend the lead.
The result was the first Mariners first win against the Brisbane Roar in Gosford in an A-League regular-season game.