The Western Sydney Wanderers surged to the top of the A-League ladder after claiming their biggest scalp, knocking the Central Coast off the summit with a 1-0 win last night.
An 81st-minute goal from Labinot Haliti ensured the Wanderers became the first team to beat the Mariners on home turf this season and put the new boys in first place - a spot that the Mariners had occupied for 14 straight weeks.
The win also saw them equal Melbourne Victory's all-time longest winning streak of eight straight triumphs.
The Mariners squandered many chances but their best opportunity came when unlikely penalty-taker keeper Mathew Ryan had his second-half spot-kick saved by Ante Covic.
With both sides boasting equally the best defensive records in the league, it was always going to be hard work getting a goal in a fast and furious encounter played in front of a 18,721-strong crowd.
Neither rain nor Cityrail track works were going to stop the more than 6000 Wanderers faithful making the trip to Gosford - the largest contingent of visiting fans at Bluetongue Stadium.
The Mariners, starting with the same team that dismantled Melbourne Victory 6-2 the previous week, looked like getting on the scoresheet early when the previous Saturday's hat- trick hero, Michael McGlinchey, just shaved the post with a shot less than two minutes in.
Adam D'Apuzzo had a chance to give the visitors the advantage in the 29th minute when he found himself one-on-one with the keeper but sent his shot over the crossbar.
The Mariners kept firing in the opening stanza with Daniel McBreen and Bernie Ibini getting chances, but the Wanderers' stoic defenders Michael Beauchamp and Nikolai Topor-Stanley were always perfectly placed to defuse the efforts.
The Mariners could have gone ahead when awarded a penalty after Wanderers Croatian import Dino Kresinger brought Patrick Zwaanswijk down in the box.
Gloveman Rayn stepped up to the mark in the 52nd minute with fellow keeper Covic saving his shot.
HE LOST the game and his voice and now Adelaide United's caretaker coach Michael Valkanis is also losing patience, accusing his players of mental frailty.
Valkanis blasted his players for not turning up to play as Adelaide's season continued to spiral out of control when beaten 1-0 by Brisbane Roar yesterday.
Roar substitute Ben Halloran slotted an 82nd- minute winner in a Hindmarsh Stadium triumph that could lift the defending champion into the top six by the end of the round.
While Adelaide remains entrenched in the top four, it has just one win from its past seven games.
Valkanis lost his voice from constant shouting at his players during the defeat, and then delivered a brutal, hoarse message.
"The first half, we didn't turn up," Valkanis croaked post-match.
"There were too many stupid errors, too many turnovers, going backwards when we could go forwards, and even the goal was comical - two players crashing into each other."
Valkanis said Adelaide's problems were mental.
"To me, it seems like it's mental because there are days when they can turn it on and play good football. And there days like today where they didn't turn up."
Rd 23 results -
BRISBANE ROAR 1 (Ben Halloran 82m) d ADELAIDE UNITED 0 at Hindmarsh Stadium. Crowd: 6,878. Referee: Shaun Evans.
WESTERN SYDNEY WANDERERS 1 (Labinot Haliti 81m) d CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 0 at Bluetongue Stadium. Crowd: 18,721. Referee: Alan Milliner.