Adelaide leave it late, but get the bickies

by Corinthian (Paul Green)

Hyundai A-League – Season 13 – 2017/2018 – Round 7
7:50pm, Thursday 16 November, 2017 – Central Coast Stadium, Gosford

Central Coast Mariners FC 1 (Wout Brama 40′)
lost to
Adelaide United FC 2 (Daniel Adung 59′, Ryan Kitto 90+3′)


Central Coast Mariners stumbled to a 2-1 stoppage-time defeat against a very positive and technically superior Adelaide United side at Central Coast Stadium on Thursday night.

Ahead from a penalty-kick in the first-half after surviving some torrid Adelaide counter-attacks which should have earned the visitors an early goal or two, the Mariners were overwhelmed in the second period and clung on desperately in an attempt at preserving a point once an Adelaide equaliser went in at the hour mark.

They almost managed it, but sheer pressure and self-belief from the travelling Reds finally broke the home side’s resistance as a Ryan Kitt finish stole the additional two points the Mariners’ opponents clearly deserved

Both sides began the game with attacking intent and there were chances galore during the opening half hour or so.
Jake McGing and Andrew Hoole were making the most of some freedom down the right flank and a stream of crosses ensued from this pairing as the former got to the byline repeatedly with Hoole backing him up well with useful exchanges of passes.

Meanwhile the Reds were far from idle in this regard and it was hard to decide which of the two teams was counter-attacking and which was on the offensive from the opening whistle.

It was classsic end-to-end stuff and the two keepers were kept especially busy.

A defender got there in time to beat Andrew Hoole to McGing’s 12th minute cross, but at the other end Papa Bababacar Diawara was a split-second too late at the far-post to turn in Daniel Adlung’s cut back from the right side after good approach play involving Nikola Mileusnic and Karim Matmour.

The Mariners won free-kicks in the 16th and 18th minute, neither from close enough to offer any real danger and each time Tom Hiarej sent the ball into the Adelaide box where the well-drilled opposition defence dealt with the lofted balls easily.

Adelaide nearly got their noses in front in the 20th, but Ben Kennedy reacted well to push the ball around his right post after Ersan Gulum had played a long ball from deep that was just waiting for a clear touch from a team mate to steer the ball into the net, but none of his intended targets could get there quickly enough to trouble the keeper.

Four minutes later it was the Mariners who should have got the lead when Kwabena Appiah-Kubi was just too late in the goalmouth to touch in McGing’s cross after a sweeping move from deep had shown great promise and at the far post Connor Paine was similarly unable to get to the ball beforeit went out for a goal kick.

Hoole could have netted too in the 33rd with another McGing ball played in from the right just eluding him.

A glaring miss by Adelaide in the 37th looked like being punished when Connor Paine was nudged off the ball in the Adelaide penalty-area and referee Matthew Conger pointed to the spot immediately.

Wout Brama stepped up confidently sent the ball low past the keeper’s left to give the Mariners the lead.

It might have been two moments before the break when another big Central Coast move down the right led to Hoole playing a ball to the near-post for Kwabena Appiah-Kubi who was far too hasty in trying to get in his shot and the ball ran harmlessly wide.

Two early chances came the Mariners’ way in the opening five minutes of the second-half, but thereafter the Reds held sway and home fans must have feared the worst as the skilful and mobile Adelaide players were beginning to create mayhem and looked likely to draw level at any time.

This they did in spectacular style in the 60th minute after a move down the right led to the ball being cleared to Adlung who was stationed, unattended, 25 yards out from goal.

Adlung took the ball on the rise and struck it beautifully into the top right corner of the net leaving Mariners’ keeper Ben Kennedy flailing as he was already well off his line.

After that substitute George Blackwood had a couple of chances to extend the Adelaide lead as the Mariners really were reduced to the occasional counter attack.

Blackwood couldn’t convert them and the best chance after those was from Ryan Kitto whose effort from a Daniel Adlung pass was brilliantly tipped over by an under-siege Kennedy in the 84th.

Just when it looked as if the Central Coast side could preserve their recent, but short unbeaten record Kitto was able to deliver the killer blow three minutes into stoppage-timeafter sliding in to steer home yet another cross from the right byline.

The Mariners had been without Josh Rose who suffered an ankle strain during the warm-up as well as the absent Storm Roux and Blake Powell.

Adelaide were good value for their win and will go into Tuesday’s FFA Cup FInal against Sydney FC in solid form, their momentum perhaps carrying them to a winners’ medal.

Match details

Crowd: 5,073  (late Thursday evening)

Central Coast Mariners FC: Ben Kennedy (gk); Jake McGing, Liam Rose, Antony Golec, Kyle Rowles, Wout Brama, Daniel De Silva, Tom Hiariej (c), Kwabena Appiah-Kubi (Josh Bingham +79), Andrew Hoole (Trent Buhagiar +86), Connor Pain
Unused substitutes: Adam Pearce (rgk), Adam Berry, Harry Ascroft

Yellow cards: Antony Golec 37′, Andrew Hoole 41′, Liam Rose 76′
Coach: Paul Okon

Adelaide United FC: Paul Izzo (gk); Michael Marrone, Jordan Elsey, Essen Gulum (Benjaminn Warland +67), Benjamin Garuccio, Daniel Adlung, Karim Matmour Isaias (c), Nikola Mileusnic (Mark Ochieng +82), Papa Babacar Diawara (George Blackwood +63), Ryan Kitto
Unused substitutes: Daniel Margush (rgk), Nathan Konstantandopoulos

Yellow cards: Ersan Gülüm 38′, Jordan Elsey 53′, George Blackwood 74′
Coach: Marco Kurz

Ratings and Points

Match 8/10
Pitch 9/10

Referee: Matthew Conger 6/10

Assistant Referee 1: Simon Lount; Assistant Referee 2: James Cleal
Fourth Official: Kurt Ams; Video Assistant Referee: Strebre Delovski

Player points:
3. Daniel Adlung (AU)
2. Jake McGing (CCM)
1. Nikolai Mileusnic (AU)

Photo: Central Coast Stadium (archive photo) by Lowenna Rappo