Despite taking a 2-0 lead away from home, the Central Coast Mariners have drawn with Adelaide United when a heartbreaking late equaliser completed an unlikely comeback.
Adelaide United 2 (Elsey 61’ & Blackwood 83’) Central Coast Mariners 2 (Hoole 7’ & Strain OG 53’)
The run down
The two Mariners’ goals both came as a result of Andrew Hoole set pieces who finished the night with a goal and an assist to give his side a 2-0 lead. Unfortunately for the Mariners, their two goals were cancelled out by second half goals to Jordan Elsey & George Blackwood.
It was a drama-filled first half in the city of churches that saw the Mariners take an early lead. After earning a free-kick at the top of the box in the sixth minute, Hooley curled his shot perfectly into Izzo’s bottom corner.
10 minutes later, the uphill battle became even harder for Adelaide when they were reduced to 10 men after Ersan Gulum was shown red for his challenge on Trent Buhagiar. Hoole had his hand in everything during the first half and played a precision ball from inside his own half to release Buhagiar who was then faced with a one-on-one opportunity. Before he could pull the trigger, he was cut down by Gulum.
The Mariners continued their domination in the first half with a one-man advantage and took the game to Adelaide United at Coopers Stadium.
It was a former Mariner that kept his side in the hunt, Paul Izzo made a run of impressive saves to keep his side just 1-0 down which may have ultimately earned Adelaide the point.
The first crucial save denied a strike from distance by Jacob Melling, the second was a sharp left-handed diving save to stop a point-blank Alan Baro volley and the third stopped Hoole from scoring his second goal of the night from distance.
The Mariners then had the final clear-cut chance of the first half when Buhagiar sent a precision diagonal ball to the chest of a charging Blake Powell in the box. Powell controlled and shot, but Izzo was again on hand to keep it 1-0, which is how it stayed going into half time.
Less than 10 minutes into the second half the Mariners doubled their lead through another Hoole set piece. Hoole’s corner was right in the mixer and unfortunately for the home side it deflected off their defender, Ryan Strain to make it 2-0 for the Mariners.
It was almost 3-0 in the 59th minute when some impressive one touch football found Hoole on the edge of the box, he then played a precision cross into the box that just missed a sliding Buhagiar. The Mariners were made to pay immediately and just minutes later, Elsey put Adelaide on the scoresheet with a header.
In a hectic final 30 minutes of play, the Yellow & Navy were forced to defend for their lives as Adelaide worked desperately to equalise. That equaliser became a reality in the 83rd minute through Blackwood who made no mistake with an emphatic finish.
7’ HOOLE GOAL (0-1): Hoole got the Mariners off to a flying start with an impressive free-kick. After winning it for being fouled by Isais, the wall was set but Hoole smartly bent his set piece around the Adelaide defenders and straight into the bottom corner. The strike was placed perfectly, leaving Izzo helpless.
53’ STRAIN OWN GOAL (0-2): Two set pieces from Hoole resulted in the two goals, this time a very dangerous corner into the box thumped off a leaping Strain and flew past Izzo.
61’ ELSEY GOAL (1-2): Ben Garuccio’s cross into the box was picture perfect, which allowed Elsey to leap above the pack and head home.
83’ BLACKWOOD GOAL (2-2): Daniel Adlung’s cross found Blackwood who took a touch and fired his shot off the bottom of the crossbar and in.
Paolo in the press
“We lost some points here tonight,” Okon said. “We had a two-goal lead and we had the chance when Hooley cut back to Trent with an open goal to make it 3-0 and probably the game’s over.
“2-0 is always a dangerous score line, Adelaide gained some momentum and we didn’t take advantage of having the extra man as much as we would have liked.
“We handed the ball over too much, it became a transition game which suits Adelaide. They are very much a team that waits for you to lose the ball and then they’re off. I think in the end they probably deserved their point.
“There are some positives. The fact that we had the two-goal lead, I thought when we used the ball well we were dangerous and threatening. Maybe in the end it’s because we haven’t won for a while, a bit of panic sets in, maybe we’ve forgotten how to win. All of those things start to creep in.
“They throw a big boy on up front and every time the ball goes wide it’s going to come into the box and we need to defend. We dealt with a number of set pieces, they didn’t get one delivery wrong.
“All in all, the fact that we were 2-0 up away to Adelaide you think you should win the game. There’s a very disappointed dressing room in there because you would have thought that we win this football game.
“Last year we felt as though we weren’t competitive in every game – certainly this season I believe we’ve done that. We’re still not there yet and we know that, we understand where we are as a football club, economically as well. It’s disappointing, it’s disappointing for our fans but with seven games to go we need to keep fighting to win every game,” Okon said.
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Ben KENNEDY(gk), 2. Storm ROUX, 4. Jake McGING, 6. Tom HIARIEJ, 7. Andrew HOOLE, 8. Blake POWELL (27. Peter SKAPETIS 76’), 10. Danny De SILVA, 12. Trent BUHAGIAR, 15.Alan BARO (c), 19. Jacob POSCOLIERO (3.Josh ROSE 68’), 22. Jacob MELLING (16. Liam ROSE 84')
Substitutes not used: 18. Tom GLOVER (gk), 11.Connor PAIN
Yellow Cards: Powell 46’, Melling 57’, Skapetis 82’
Adelaide United: 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 7.Ryan KITTO (77.Džengis ČAVUŠEVIĆ 64’), 8.ISAÍAS (C), 14.George BLACKWOOD,17.Nikola MILEUSNIC (2.Michael MARRONE 76’), 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 22.Ersan GÜLÜM, 23.Jordan ELSEY, 24.Jordan O’DOHERTY (5.Taylor REGAN 21’), 29.Ryan STRAIN, 37.Daniel ADLUNG
Substitutes not used: 1.Daniel MARGUSH (gk), 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS
Yellow cards: Isais 10’, Regan 58’, Adlung 79’
Red cards: Gulum 19’
Saturday, 17 February 2018
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Adelaide United vs. Central Coast Mariners