A BERNIE Ibini moment of brilliance ensured Central Coast finished the year on top of the A-League ladder as the Mariners clinched a 1-0 win over Perth Glory on Monday night.
Ibini was brought on to spark the Mariners' tame attack and proved the difference with a 68th-minute strike. He chipped Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic from close range to net the only goal with the game's first shot on target.
Perth Glory defender Scott Jamieson was given a licence to roam forward and his overlapping runs with Dean Heffernan exposed holes down the Mariners' right flank early in the match.
Though, Glory's high-pressing game allowed space for Mariners full-back Pedj Bojic to hit the Glory on the counter and he came close to creating an opening with a burst down the wing. Bojic found space and skipped past his marker to whip in a dangerous cross to Mike McGlinchey inside the box. Former Mariners keeper,
Vukovic narrowly beat the Kiwi international to the ball and deflected it to safety with his fingertips.
The crowd had to wait 36 minutes for the first shot of the match when Shane Smeltz should have put the visitors into the lead.
Steve McGarry placed a precise cross to Smeltz who was unmarked six-metres from an open goal, but the marksman uncharacteristically side-footed the ball wide of the post.