Central Coast's worst start to an A-League season continued with their 2-0 loss to Western Sydney extending their winless run to seven games.
A first-half rocket from Keanu Baccus -- his first goal in the league -- was followed on Friday night by Jaushua Sotirio's follow-up midway through the second period. Winger Bruce Kamau was involved in both goals; assisting on Baccus' effort from distance before firing his own long-ranger that fell to Sotirio's feet.
The win, played in front of a meagre 8163 fans at Spotless Stadium, temporarily lifts the Wanderers above Brisbane and Newcastle into sixth spot.
Baccus' strike was met with disgust from Mariners coach Mike Mulvey, who stormed off after Baccus found the net deep into injury time in the first half.
But he had nothing to complain about over Sotirio's 68th-minute game sealer. He tapped in after goalkeeper Ben Kennedy couldn't parlay Kamau's shot away. Kamau's shot came after some slick build-up play involving Oriol Riera and star import Alex Baumjohann.
The Wanderers entered round seven with the most shots on goal so far this season -- yet only had a solitary win to show for it. And for much of the first half, it looked like the trend would continue, with the home side doubling the Mariners' chances before Baccus' late screamer.
Riera's frustrations in front of goal also continued, failing to find the net despite a handful of clear-cut opportunities. In contrast, Baumjohann's impressive maiden season in the A-League continued with yet another magical display of passing in a near best-on-ground shift.
For the Mariners, their best chance came when Michael McGlinchey's point-blank volley was hit straight into goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic.
Not only are they yet to win an away game in Australia in almost 700 days, but they are one more loss away from owning the worst start in league history.
The winless start is already the worst in club history and is sure to heap pressure on Mulvey, who had been without key men Tommy Oar and Ross McCormack.
The Wanderers move onto the second derby of the season next Saturday against Sydney FC at ANZ Stadium, while the Mariners meet Wellington on the road.
Babbel said it was the perfect response he wanted following a 4-0 drubbing by Melbourne Victory last week.
"That was what I'm looking for," he said. "I said this to the players during the week, you can fall down but this can happen. Stand up and fight for your dreams. For me today, it was outstanding. It was top."
Mulvey said the Baccus goal was a backbreaker. He said: "It was a cruel blow. I haven't seen their goal but basically it looked like he had a bit of time on the edge of the box and maybe we didn't close down as quickly as we could've done."