Central Coast have come from behind to score a 2-1 win at Macarthur to move up to third in the A-League and closer to a finals appearance.
Central Coast Mariners have taken a huge step towards their first A-League finals appearance in seven years with a fine 2-1 win at Macarthur.
Trailing early to a Markel Susaeta goal at Campbelltown Stadium on Thursday, the Mariners showed the never-say-die attitude that has been their trademark this season.
They took control in the latter stages of the first half with Jack Clisby equalising in the 31st minute and Daniel De Silva rewarded their early second-half dominance with a fine winner in the 55th minute.
With Costa Rican international forward Marco Urena pulling the strings superbly, the Mariners looked the more dangerous side and while Macarthur showed greater urgency in the final half-hour they manufactured few chances.
The Mariners' third win in as many games against the Bulls lifted them two places to third, moving above Brisbane and Adelaide,
A win in either of their last two games at home to teams outside the top six should guarantee them finals action for the first time since 2014.
Coach Alen Stajcic is still targeting a top-two spot and an Asian Champions League place, but remained cautious after the win.
"A big stride towards the finals but it's not mathematically sealed yet at all," he said.
"We know Perth can still overtake us and Macarthur can."
Macarthur remained sixth, two points ahead of Wellington.
"Everything is in our hands. In the end, if we're good enough, we'll get there and if not then it's not meant to be this season," Bulls' coach Ante Milicic said.
Denis Genreau, who was this week named in the Socceroos squad for the World Cup qualifiers, put Susaeta through and from the edge of the area the Spaniard deftly lobbed Mariners' goalkeeper Mark Birighitti, who was well off his line.
The Mariners came to life the final 15 minutes of the half.
A fine turn and pass from Urena found Matt Simon and his pass fell invitingly to Clisby, who drilled a shot into the far corner of the net .
Clisby blasted over after being put through by Urena and then had a goal overturned by VAR for offside after he smashed a shot into the net.
Mariners almost scored in first-half stoppage time, when Bulls' goalkeeper Adam Federici pulled off a fine save with his legs to deny Simon.
The visitors carried that momentum into the second half.
Urena rolled the ball to De Silva, who placed his shot perfectly.
Federici kept Macarthur in the game with two more critical saves from Oliver Bozanic and Urena.
Macarthur finally responded with Birighitti making a fine point-blank save to keep out a Matt Derbyshire header from a corner just after the hour, but for all their late pressure the Bulls couldn't score again.
"We were aggressive the first 30 minutes, we pressed the way we wanted to and after that we just dropped off a bit and invited pressure," Milicic said.
"The second half we got into some good positions but we just didn't have the right decisions to break them down."