Central Coast's worst start to an A-League season continues with a 2-0 loss to Western Sydney extending their winless run to seven.
A first-half bullet from Keanu Baccus - his first goal in the league - was followed by a gimme from Jaushua Sotirio midway through Friday night's second period.
Winger Bruce Kamau was involved both times, assisting on Baccus' effort from distance before firing his own long-ranger that fell at Sotirio's feet.
The win, in front of a meagre 8163 Spotless Stadium fans, temporarily lifts the Wanderers above Brisbane and Newcastle into sixth.
Baccus' strike was met with disgust from Mariners coach Mike Mulvey, who stormed off after he found the net deep into first half injury time.
But Mulvey had nothing to complain about over Sotirio's 68th-minute sealer, a tap-in after goalkeeper Ben Kennedy couldn't parlay Kamau's shot away. Some slick build-up play involved Oriol Riera and star import Alex Baumjohann.
The Wanderers entered round seven with the most shots on goal 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' 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 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, they are one loss away from owning the worst start in league history.
The 0-2-5 opening is already the worst in club history and 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. I said this to the player during the week, you can fall down but this can happen. Stand up and fight for your dreams," he said.
"For me today, it was outstanding. It was top."
Mulvey said the Baccus goal was a backbreaker.
"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."