'You need to fight': Vukovic laments Mariners' defeat

Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS

Central Coast Mariners skipper Danny Vukovic expects the team to fight tooth and nail to bring back their former pace after a 1-3 A-League defeat to Sydney FC.

The Socceroos keeper was bested three times in the opening twenty minutes on Saturday night, with the Mariners condemned to their first loss since November at Industree Group Stadium in Gosford.

"In this league, you need to fight, you need to have that effort and battle for every ball," Vukovic told AAP.

"We got a rocket from the coaching staff and we deserved it - over 30 duels lost in the first half.

"Everyone being told that the effort wasn't good enough and it wasn't."

A red-hot Anthony Caceres was the architect of the Mariners' undoing, setting up Rhyan Grant's fourth-minute opener before getting on the scoreboard himself.

Adding more salt to the wound, the 31-year-old fired a pass towards Patrick Wood in the box only for Mariners defender Dan Hall to stick his boot out and divert the ball into his own net.

"We saw one team fighting for everything and our team not," Vukovic said.

"It was a slow start by us and Sydney capitalised.

"We knew they were going to be up for it and for whatever reason, we weren't."

Central Coast remain in second-place but their hold on the spot could loosen, sitting on 28 points equal to Macarthur.

Meanwhile, Sydney move into the top six while also becoming the first team to clock 800 goals in the league.