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Adelaide United v Central Coast Mariners
Coopers Stadium, 17 February, 2018
|Adelaide United||Full Time||Central Coast Mariners|
|7||SHOTS ON GOAL||5|
The Reds have come back from the brink to grab a point off the disappointing Mariners, who should really have been able to finish off the home side when they were left with ten men after a first-half send-off.
Andrew Hoole started things brilliantly for the visitors with some wonderful early touches and found the net with a free kick to put the Mariners ahead after only seven minutes and any discussion around the state of the pitch became irrelevant for the Reds who needed a win to keep the chasers in the A-League pack at bay.
After some early decisions that seemed to go against the home side, Ursum Gulum was given his marching orders by the referee after a soft challenge on Trent Buhagiar just outside the box. While a foul, the red card was a big call and threatened to ruin what was building as an excellent contest.
The score remained 1-0 into the break and the Mariners added a second after Ryan Strain slotted an own goal over which he had little control.
Things looked over for the Reds, yet after all the angst of the poor decisions in the first half, where even the coach received a yellow card, the home side were able to compose themselves and mount a comeback.
Jordan Elsey found the back of the net after an excellent cross from Garruccio in the 61st minute and all of a sudden the good play of the Reds looked like producing a result.
Wave after wave of attack followed and the second goal finally came after lead-up work from Adlung and a finish from Blackwood, that saw the scores level after 83 minutes.
Adelaide might feel they should have all three points after dominating the latter periods of the game yet the Mariners held onto their point.
In what could have been a game marred by poor decisions and remembered for nothing else, it actually turned into an enthralling contest, although the comments of Adelaide manager Marco Kurz will be interesting in the post-game press conference.
Adelaide United 2
Central Coast Mariners 2
This match will be broadcast by via free-to-air TV on channel One, and on Fox Sports 501.
With reservations about the state of the playing surface playing on the coach’s mind after the AFL’s contribution on Thursday night, the sheer danger of this clash for the home team cannot be overlooked.
The Central Coast come to town desperately in search of three points to keep their miniscule chances of making the finals alive and they have the quality to leave Adelaide on a high.
Unfortunately, form indicates that this won’t happen and Adelaide show be too strong on their home patch.
The visitors haven’t tasted victory since their Round 9 win over Perth Glory and with only a few measly points along the way, things have slowly but surely gone south for a team that promised so much early in the season.
Solid would be the best way to describe Adelaide and the culture that Marco Kurz has tried to install in the squad.
Less errors and more chances in front of goal is a rather blunt summary of their season, as is their inability to convert enough of those chances to really threaten the top two teams on the ladder.
With Melbourne City still within reach for the reds, this match looms as a chance to lock up a top six stop and push for a home final in the first week.
Both Victory and Wanderers will have something to say about that, however, Adelaide could skip five points clear of them both with a win in this one.
Adelaide will prove too strong at home despite a spirited display from the Mariners.
Adelaide United 3, Central Coast Mariners 1.
Catch all the action on The Roar live coverage from 7:50pm (AEDT).