Sixth-placed Macarthur went in front at Campbelltown Stadium when Markel Susaeta raced onto a chipped pass before lifting the ball over goalkeeper Mark Birighitti.
However, the Spaniard’s fourth goal of the campaign – coming from the first attempt on target by either team – only sparked the Mariners into life.
They were level before half-time thanks to Jack Clisby, who grabbed his first A-League goal since February 2020 when firing a left-footed shot in from a tight angle.
The defender was denied a second by a VAR check, replays showing him narrowly offside to rule out an effort similar to his equaliser.
Daniel De Silva did put Central Coast ahead in the 55th minute, delightfully curling a right-footed attempt beyond goalkeeper Adam Federici from just outside the penalty area.
Macarthur was unbeaten in its previous nine outings this season in which it had scored first yet was unable to find a way back into the contest.
The home team had eight attempts after the interval but just two were on target, the defeat leaving them looking over their shoulders in the race to qualify for the A-League Finals.