Mariners down Macarthur, go second in ALM

Central Coast have underlined their claims as Melbourne City's nearest challengers for the A-League Men premiership with a 2-1 win over Macarthur FC on Friday.

The victory in front of a crowd of 4621 at Campbelltown Stadium solidifies the Mariners' grasp on second position and leaves them just three points behind league leaders City.

First-half goals from Marco Tulio and Jason Cummings helped Nick Montgomery's side seal their second away win of the season.

"It's a massive credit to the boys," Montgomery said.

"We played some good stuff and looked dangerous whenever we went forward.

"They are a direct team with a big target man in Bachana Arabuli and we knew we had to be brave.

"I thought we could have killed the game off so many times, but Macarthur gave us a real scrap."

The Mariners had claims for two late penalties waved away by referee Alireza Faghani, whose liberal approach to officiating was questioned by Montgomery and Bulls boss Dwight Yorke.

Soon after setting up Matthew Millar in the second half, Macarthur substitute Daniel Arzani was also felled in the Mariners box but the infringement went ignored by the official.

"That conversation carried on into the dressing room and it felt as if there was a clear indication of them impeding Arzani on his way in," Yorke said.

It was another frustrating game for the home side, with two defensive lapses from defender Tomislav Uskok helping Tulio and Cummings score inside the opening half an hour.

"I'm not going to point the finger at my players," Yorke, whose side have only sealed consecutive wins once this season, said.

"It's the consistency I crave for at this football club. We get knocked back all the time and that's a challenge for us.

"You get kicked in the teeth but we showed a lot of fight and desire, overall I'm pleased even though I'm disappointed with the result."

The Mariners took a 2-0 lead in at halftime and Arzani's introduction at the expense of Al Hassan Toure, who picked up a foot injury, helped spark the Bulls from their slumber.

The winger flicked on a Jed Drew corner for Millar to steer past Mariners goalkeeper Danny Vukovic, before having his penalty claim turned down.

Drew and Jake Hollman forced Vukovic into vital saves as the game began to wear on and both sides pushed forward in search of another goal.

Mariners substitute Michael Ruhs should have seen off the game for the away side before a trip from Jonathan Aspropotamitis inside the box went unpunished from Faghani.

The only sour note for Central Coast was a potential injury to winger Sammy Silvera after a challenge from Hollman.