The home side were all over their rivals in the first half and got the breakthrough three minutes prior to the break thanks to Matt Simon but United hit back two minutes later through Dino Djulbic.
Fifteen minutes into the second term, Steve Pantelidis slammed home to put the visitors ahead before Adam Kwasnik leveled just over a minute later only for Gold Coast substitute Andrew Barisic to grab the winner in the 73rd minute.
The win allowed Gold Coast to go third on the table, overtaking the Mariners who dropped to fourth with their third loss of the season on their return to Bluetongue Stadium.
Venue: Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford
Referee: Matthew Gillett
Yellow cards: CCM - Matthew Lewis 82’
GCU - Dino Djulbic 65’, Steve Pantelidis 90+3’
Central Coast begun in positive fashion, continually testing Gold Coast keeper Glen Moss and it seemed just a matter of time before they would score.
In the 36th minute, Mariners youngster Mustafa Amini managed to find space at the top of the area but his well-struck shot was parried away by Moss who then made another brilliant save from the ensuing corner after Chris Doig headed goalward.
GOAL The home side were constantly threatening and finally got their reward when left-back Josh Rose received the ball from Oliver Bozanic on the left flank before playing an inch-perfect cross to Matt Simon who finished past Moss with an extended right boot three minutes before half-time.
GOAL In the final minute of the half, Gold Coast equalized when Dino Djulbic’s header from a corner bounced straight back to him and his reactionary right-footed shot swung past the Mariners defenders and past goalkeeper Matthew Ryan to make it 1-1 just before the whistle.
Five minutes into the second half, an out-of-sorts Tahj Minniecon messed up an ideal chance to put Gold Coast in front when he had acres of space advancing on goal and with just the opposing keeper to beat, blazed it wide in what was a huge let off for the Mariners.
Moss produced another huge save for United moments later from a cracking Michael McGlinchey shot as he continued to keep his side in the contest as things started to heat up.
GOAL The match exploded into life when Steve Pantelidis made it 2-1 for the visitors when he finished emphatically after Adama Traore’s cross from the left flank skimmed off the head of Jason Culina and into his path for him to slam home for his first ever A-League goal.
GOAL A minute later, the Mariners leveled through substitute Adam Kwasnik, who netted his fourth goal in five matches, when a long ball from Patrick Zwaanswijk hit him on the back allowing him to round Moss and tap home to make it 2-2 in the 71st minute.
GOAL All of a sudden it was 3-2 when Mariners skipper Alex Wilkinson made a fatal error on the edge of the area where substitute Andrew Barisic pounced on the ball, out-muscled Wilkinson and slotted past Ryan.
The young Central Coast keeper then came up with a superb save when Barisic unleashed moments later before a very thrilling finish where the visitors held out for a handy three points on the road.
Matthew Ryan (gk), Daniel McBreen (Hutchinson 68’), Josh Rose, Patrick Zwaanswijk, Rostyn Griffiths, Oliver Bozanic (Lewis 68’), Michael McGlinchey, Chris Doig, Alex Wilkinson, Matt Simon, Mustafa Amini (Kwasnik 55’)
Subs - Paul Henderson (gk), Adam Kwasnik (55’), John Hutchinson (68’), Matthew Lewis (68’)
Glen Moss (gk), Steve Pantelidis, Dino Djulbic, Zenon Caravella, Anderson Jason Culina (Curtis 90+2’), Bas van den Brink, Joel Porter, Tahj Minniecon (Robson 66’), Kristian Rees, Adama Traore, Steve Fitzsimmons (Barisic 74’)
Subs - Scott Higgins (gk), Robson (66’) Andrew Barisic (74’), John Curtis (90+2’)