Pedj Bojic very nearly haunted his old club just three minutes in as he made up a run the right that allowed him to send in a cross that the Mariners cleared.
The Central Coast was an attacking force in the opening stages but Sydney's high line was catching the Mariners out with the offside count stacking up.
Mitchell Duke probably should have scored the goal in the 20th minute as he got on the end of Marcos Flores' free kick but sent his header right at Vedran Janjetovic.
After that miss the Mariners kept working and in the 26th minute they had their goal as Josh Rose found Daniel McBreen who was able to score with an impressive back heel to make it 1-0.
Sydney had a solid passage with Ranko Despotovic and Bojic but couldn't find the net and the Mariners could well have punished them for that as Rose found McBreen but his header was poor letting Sydney FC off the hook and sending the Mariners to the break 1-0 up.
The Mariners kept attacking in the second half with Sydney FC struggling with Central Coast's physical play that starved Sydney of chances.
In the 74th minute Michael McGlinchey beat his defender only to be stopped by Ali Abbas' good defending kept him out.
Five minutes later Matt Simon probably should have done better as Mile Sterjovski played him through but Simon couldn't beat Janjetovic.
With three minutes to play the Mariners had a good penalty shout turned down as Simon made a run and sent the ball in but saw Terry McFlynn block the effort, seemingly with his harm but the referee thought nothing of it as play continued.
That was the last of the real action for the match as the Mariners easily cruised their way to a 1-0 win against Sydney FC.