Melbourne City marksman Jamie Maclaren has scored a hat trick to inspire a 4-2 away win over Central Coast in the first A-League match closed to the public.
The teams did their best to compensate for the lack of fan-generated atmosphere on Friday evening, scoring three goals in the first 10 minutes of the game at Gosford, which started in 34-degree conditions.
Maclaren's hat trick lifts him to 18 goals and above Sydney FC star Adam Le Fondre into first place in the the battle for the Golden Boot.
The win moves second-placed City, who are undefeated in their past four, to within seven points of leaders Sydney, who have three games in hand.
The last-placed Mariners slumped to a 10th-straight loss.
Jordan Murray scored within the first two minutes, after running onto a Jack Clisby through ball, but Maclaren equalised three minutes later after he was able to get in behind the home defence.
The early goal glut continued with Markel Susaeta heading in at the far post from a Craig Noone cross.
The game cooled down after the hot start but it took just three minutes of the second half for Maclaren to toe home from close range.
Murray gave the Mariners some hope when he headed in a Chris Harold cross in the 69th minute for his first A-League brace.
Maclaren restored City's two-goal lead when he thumped the ball home after a shot from Nathaniel Atkinson was deflected into his path.
He might have completed his hat trick earlier, but was denied by a sharp save from Mark Birighitti, who also produced a fine stop from a Florin Berenguer shot.