Mariners beat Perth 1-0
The Central Coast have avenged their heartbreaking preliminary final loss to Perth last season after beating the Glory 1-0 in a closely contested match at Bluetongue Stadium on Sunday.
Last season's minor premiers, who opened their season with a 0-0 draw against Western Sydney last week, looked like remaining winless and goalless until Daniel McBreen scored his 70th minute goal to snatch victory for the hosts.
The Mariners lost last season's controversial preliminary final in April after Glory striker Shane Smeltz, who on Sunday was on national duty with New Zealand, scored the equaliser from an offside position before Perth went on to book their grand final berth on penalties.
But it was the Mariners, wearing pink kits in support of the cancer charity event Pink Ribbon Day, who went home victors on Sunday in front of 9,192 cheering faithful.
Two yellow cards were shown in the first 25 minutes of what was a heated encounter.
Perth's Michael Thwaite earning the first for a foul on Mile Sterjovski, while Mariners fans thought their team may be awarded a penalty when Sterjovski was brought down on the edge the box by Jacob Burns.
Burns' foul created the first chance of the match midway through the opening half when Patrick Zwaanswijk stepped up to take the free-kick, forcing a diving save from Glory gloveman Daniel Vukovic.
Zwaanswijk however, earned the ire of the referee minutes later for tripping Travis Dodd getting the third yellow of the match.
The Mariners' Trent Sainsbury had the only other chance of the half with a shot from inside the box but fired his header just over the bar.
Both teams came back from the break looking to get on the score-sheet with Central Coast skipper John Hutchinson attempting to open the Mariners account.
Hutchinson however, made a potential game-changing error in the 69th minute when he gave the ball away to Dodd who was charging toward goal only to be denied by Sainsbury.
Sainsbury turned provider a minute later when he played a beautiful cross to McBreen who showed great skill to control the ball with his left foot before slotting it home with his right to give the hosts the 1-0 win.
Pedj Bojic could have put the game beyond doubt in the 78th minute when he had a clear shot at goal but misfired.