Central Coast have retained their place in second spot on the Hyundai A-League table following a 3-1 win over the Melbourne Heart at Bluetongue Stadium in Gosford on Saturday night.

Matt Simon put the Mariners in front in first-half injury time before the Heart rallied brilliantly in the second half to equalise through replacement Eli Babalj in the 78th minute.

But the Mariners went ahead in the 81st minute when referee Gerard Parsons awarded the home team a penalty for handball in the box.

Veteran Daniel McBreen stepped up and made no mistake from the spot kick.

With time almost up Patrick Zwaanswijk then finished off the match when he headed home a corner in the 87th minute.

Simon pounced to score the Mariners first goal, and his third goal of the campaign, after captain Alex Wilkinson won a header from a Michael McGlinchey corner.

Apart from the excitement in injury time it was a relatively non-eventful first half.

Ibini was in the thick of the action throughout the half.

He had a shot well blocked in the ninth minute and then could do little as a goalbound shot from John Hutchinson struck him on the leg with Bolton beaten after 32 minutes.

Mariners goalkeeper Justin Pasfield had little to do in the first half but the Heart were still dangerous in patches.

Matt Thompson had a good chance in the 22nd minute before sending a low shot wide of the target.

Despite playing away from home the Heart had the better of play early in the second half.

While Pasfield did not have to make a save for long periods, the visitors looked dangerous moving forward and put the Mariners in-form defence under consistent pressure.

Second-half replacement David Williams nearly scored with his first touch of the ball in the 58th minute when he headed a Thompson cross just wide of the posts.

The Mariners were guilty of failing to hold on to the ball throughout the second half and were made to pay a heavy price.

Maycon showed his class in the 73rd minute with a stinging shot that need a good save from Pasfield but the Mariners goalkeeper was beaten five minutes later when Babalj scored the equaliser from a free kick.

It was not until Zwaanswijk scored that Mariners coach Graham Arnold could relax.

Central Coast 3 (Simon 45, McBreen 81, Zwaanswijk 87)
Melbourne Heart 1 (Babalj 78)
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