Wanderers return to winning ways
Western Sydney ended a four-game winless streak as two goals in the opening half-hour gave them a 2-1 win at Central Coast Mariners.
Josep Gombau's side now have a three-point cushion inside the top six, while the Mariners are only two points above bottom side Wellington.
Jaushua Sotirio and Oriol Riera netted in the first half at Central Coast Stadium, with Peter Skapetis giving the home side hope 15 minutes from time.
The Mariners were under the cosh at times in the first half, and needed keeper Ben Kennedy to be at his best early on when he kept out a Riera header and Mark Bridge's close-range shot.
Sotorio put Western Sydney ahead on 14 minutes, seeing his volley deflect past Kennedy after he was picked out by Marcelo Carrusca's corner on the edge of the box.
Raul Llorente's cross from out wide gave Riera the chance to double their advantage, his powerful header going in off the underside of the bar.
The Mariners pulled a goal back with 14 minutes left when Jacob Melling's ball into the box saw Skapetis head past Vedran Janjetovic.
It breathed new life into the home side and they pushed hard for an equaliser in the latter stages.
Speedy Trent Buhagiar posed problems for the visitors, first bursting down the wing before being halted by Michael Thwaite's interception. Then the winger came within a whisker of earning a point for Paul Okon's side when his powerful drive in the final minute of stoppage time hit the outside of the post.
Western Sydney are 20/1 to win the Grand Final and 19/20 to win their next game against Wellington, who are 11/4 with the draw 11/4.
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