An Alex Brosque hat-trick helped Sydney FC overcome a stubborn Central Coast 5-2 at Jubilee Stadium on Friday night.
The Sky Blues briefly went to the top of the table with the victory as they were almost gifted victory over the luckless Mariners.
It was also a successful evening for Sydney FC in the W-League, with the Sky Blues downing Newcastle 3-1 to get themselves back in finals contention.
Goals to Princess Ibini and a double to Savannah McCaskill cancelled out Elizabeth Copus-Brown’s effort for the Jets.
In the A-League, Kalifa Cisse got himself sent off after just 26 minutes with Central Coast leading 1-0 after Connor Pain’s early strike.
Cisse received a second yellow card before the half hour mark for a studs-up challenge after he had been booked earlier for hand ball.
But it was Brosque who was the star at Kogarah, with the veteran striker delighted to score his first A-League hat-trick.
“I’m very happy, I’ve been finding it tough the last couple of games to get chances to get goals but tonight they fell nicely. It was nice to get the win and a few goals as well,” he said.
“It’s my first hat-trick in the Hyundai A-League, the last one I got was back in the NSL so a long time ago.
“The chip stands out for me. To be honest I ran out of legs and I thought I’m not going to out run him so I might as well try and shoot from here and thankfully it went in.”
Central Coast battled their way to half-time with their lead in tact but a sloppy showing after the break saw Sydney FC surge to a 4-1 lead within 19 minutes of the re-start.
Brosque completed his hat-trick with a sublime back heel flick, a rebounded effort and a delightful chip over Mariners goalkeeper Ben Kennedy.
Sydney FC’s goal to give them the lead came with some controversy though after Adam Le Fondre was ruled to have been brought down in the penalty area by Jacob Melling.
Replays showed Melling to have clearly won the ball with a fine challenge, but the much-maligned video assistant referee opted not to overrule the on-field decision much to the frustration of the Central Coast.
Le Fondre buried the penalty but the Mariners refused to quit. Aiden O’Neill pulled a goal back for the visitors.
But Helensburgh Thistles junior Aaron Calver sealed the result with a stunning volley in added time as the Sky Blues hit five. In truth, it could have been a lot more if not for the efforts of Kennedy in the Mariners goal.
Sky Blues coach Steve Corica was delighted with the second half performance of his side.
“We were a little bit slow to start again but once they went down to 10 men I could only see it going one way,” he said.
“We played very good football so I’m really pleased and it could have been a lot more than what it was.
“Alex Brosque was unbelievable, I thought he was excellent tonight. He took his goals very well, especially the last one I thought was superb to chip the keeper like that.
“All the boys played exceptionally well, especially in the second half.”
Sydney FC return to Kogarah when they host Adelaide United on Sunday night. The Sky Blues also travel to Perth to face the Glory on Wednesday night.