Western Sydney striker Brendon Santalab has tormented Central Coast Mariners again as the Wanderers moved to the top of the A-League ladder with a 4-1 home win.
In the final regular-season game at Parramatta Stadium before it is knocked down and rebuilt, Santalab bagged a goal in each half to give himself four goals in three matches against the Mariners this season.
Santalab, Romeo Castelen, Mitch Nichols and Mark Bridge caused plenty of headaches for debutant Mariners goalkeeper Adam Pearce and his side, which still has not kept a clean sheet this season.
The Wanderers might yet play another game at their home fortress if they finish high enough to host a finals match, but if not, they gave their fans in the 14,855-strong crowd plenty to remember.
Dutch international Castelen blasted a 20-metre right foot drive into the roof of the net after eight minutes and went close on a number of other occasions.
The Mariners briefly enjoyed parity after Spanish international Luis Garcia’s diving header from a Mitch Austin cross hit the back of the net in the 21st minute.
Santalab restored the home side’s lead 15 minutes later when he fired home from close range after Pearce pushed out a Castelen shot.
The Mariners created the odd chance after the break but the Wanderers continued to dominate, racking up a 20-8 advantage in the shot count.
An unmarked Santalab made it 3-1 when he headed a Scott Neville cross past Pearce in the 52nd minute and Nichols netted from close range near the end to complete the scoring.
The loss means the Mariners are now certain to record their lowest tally of wins in a season, boasting just three with one round to go.
The Wanderers, meanwhile, now sit atop the table on 45 competition points, but with Melbourne City (2nd on 44 pts), Brisbane (3rd on 44 pts), Adelaide (4th on 43 pts), and Perth (5th on 40 pts) still to play this weekend.