Bernie Ibini celebrates scoring against the Wellington Phoenix. Photo: Brendan Esposito
A Bernie Ibini brace helped A-League leaders Central Coast to an emphatic 5-0 win over battling Wellington on Thursday in Gosford.
Ibini scored in the 30th and 87th minutes as the Mariners ran riot to move six points clear at the head of the A-League ladder.
The in-form Ibini was ably backed up by Daniel McBreen who continued his incredible goal-scoring run, and Central Coast kept their impregnable home record record intact.
Central Coast Mariners FC vs Wellington Phoenix FC
Nick Montgomery under pressure. Photo: Brendan Esposito
The Mariners are two wins clear of Melbourne Victory on top of the table and, with a massive goal difference of 22, are looking increasingly difficult to reel in.
Ibini's second goal, created by a superb through ball from McBreen, was followed by another from substitute Mitchell Duke on a memorable night for the home side.
McBreen, the league's leading goal-scorer, claimed his 15th of the year in the 69th minute as the Mariners extended their undefeated home record this season to 10 games - nine wins and one draw.
In the lead-up to the clash, Mariners' coach Graham Arnold challenged his side to aim for 50 premiership points, as they seek a second straight premiership, and they responded in kind.
Ibini's first-half goal was added to by John Hutchinson strike in the 65th minute and a bullet header from the irrepressible McBreen from a corner in the 68th minute.
Earlier, Pedj Bojic had missed two golden chances to extend the Mariners' lead. But that mattered little as they decimated the second-last Phoenix who have little to look forward to in the final third of the season - in stark contrast to their conquerers.
CENTRAL COAST MARINERS 5 (Bernie Ibini-Isei 29m, 86m, John Hutchinson 65m, Daniel McBreen 69m, Mitchell Duke 89m) bt WELLINGTON PHOENIX 0 at Bluetongue Stadium. Crowd: 6,774. Referee: Kris Griffiths-Jones.