Western United have burst back to form but their 3-0 A-League win over Central Coast has been soured by an injury to mercurial captain Alessandro Diamanti in Geelong.
Besart Berisha scored twice and Mariners defender Kye Rowles put the ball in his own net, as United surged to a 3-0 lead inside 21 minutes on Sunday afternoon at GMHBA Stadium.
"I thought we put the game to bed particularly in the first half and we had another (called offside)," United coach Mark Rudan said.
"It could have been four; we hit the crossbar as well - we created three big chances on top of three goals that we scored and our 'keeper didn't make a save.
"So I wouldn't call it a complete performance - it was a complete 45 minutes."
United opened the scoring after just six minutes.
Diamanti eased past Gianni Stensness and looped a terrific ball towards Berisha, who powered a header from beyond the penalty spot into the top corner.
The home side doubled their lead via an own-goal in the 18th minute.
Connor Pain's scintillating cross skidded past all comers and into the path of Josh Risdon, whose long-range shot was cut into the net by Rowles.
Three minutes later, the excellent Max Burgess went on a mazy run and cut the ball back to Berisha, who tapped home - with the ball taking a deflection off Rowles.
Mariners skipper Tommy Oar found Jordan Murray from a corner in the 25th minute, but the striker's header just flashed wide.
Diamanti limped off in the 27th minute and was replaced three minutes later by Dario Jertec.
United almost made it 4-0 in the 37th minute.
Burgess weaved his way through traffic and slipped the ball to Pain, who finished past Mark Birighitti with aplomb - only for the goal to be ruled offside.
Despite a lengthy VAR review, the offside call stood.
Birighitti stood tall to make a strong save late in the first half then, in the closing seconds, Murray looked to inspire the Mariners with a dramatic bicycle kick but his attempt went wide.
In the 55th minute, a delightful ball from Burgess released Pain, who recovered his smothered shot to cut the ball back to Panagiotis Kone, who hit the bar.
Central Coast's best chance came in the 61st minute when Murray's close-range shot beat the United defence, but Filip Kurto scrambled to gather the ball.
From there, the game settled into a holding pattern, with United sealing their first win in more than a month.
The victory keeps United entrenched in fifth place while the Mariners remain 10th.
"We just got punished for individual errors and some poor defending and that's what happens when you play against a quality team like they are with quality individuals," Mariners coach Alen Stajcic said.
"It's just a cross in and Berisha gets in front of the player and scores.
"So they probably had three actions in that first 20 minutes in our penalty box and scored off all three and we had maybe seven or eight actions and didn't produce the same amount of quality they had."