Jamie Maclaren was the hat-trick hero as Melbourne City piled further misery on the Central Coast Mariners in the A-League with a 4-2 triumph.
The Mariners went down to a 10th consecutive defeat despite Jordan Murray catching the City backline napping to give them a second-minute lead.
The host's joy was short-lived as Maclaren arrowed a swift response across Central Coast goalkeeper Mark Birighitti and Markel Susaeta headed City in front inside 10 minutes.
Maclaren crowned a wonderful team move three minutes into the second half before claiming the matchball when Nathaniel Atkinson's blocked shot spun in his direction – a goal that restored City's two-goal advantage after a towering header earned Murray his second of the match.
City, playing without Erick Mombaerts - their 64 year-old manager who stayed home as a precaution against contracting coronavirus, is seven points behind Sydney FC in second but have played three games more than the leader.
Brisbane Roar is five points further back in fourth after Scott McDonald's splendid 16th-minute finish proved enough to see off Newcastle Jets 1-0.
It meant a first defeat as Jets boss for Carl Robinson – a fate that was almost averted in stoppage time when Roy O'Donovan volleyed Dimitrios Petratos' searching cross from the left against the post.