A first half strike to Ryan Kitto was enough to earn Adelaide United three points on Boxing Day against the Central Coast Mariners at Coopers Stadium.
Adelaide United 1 (Kitto 14’) Central Coast Mariners 0
The run down
Despite boasting more possession, chances created and total shots, the Mariners just couldn’t find the back of the net in Adelaide which resulted in a narrow loss to the Reds.
The Central Coast Mariners now have a prime opportunity to bounce back when they host Wellington Phoenix on New Year’s Eve.
The lone goal of the game came when Adelaide made the most of a chance in the 14th minute. A nice one-two on the right flank saw the ball fly into the area that Ryan Kitto was able to flick past Ben Kennedy to make it 1-0.
Just after the 20 minute mark the Mariners were left wondering how they weren’t on at least level terms with incredible chances that were thwarted by Paul Izzo. The first was a Kwabena Appiah shot from distance that was saved by Izzo down to his right, the ensuing corner and free-kick just outside the area forced Izzo to deny a Blake Powell header from point blank range, then a nice strike from Andrew Hoole.
The man for the Mariners in the first half was Appiah who caused havoc on the right wing for the Adelaide back four. His best chance of the half was a solo run down the flank, which he capped off by cleverly cutting inside the defender to shoot but Izzo again made a nice save.
Adelaide had a prime chance with the final kick of the half from a set piece but Kennedy was called into action who made a crucial save to keep his side in the hunt.
Play really levelled out in the second half with far fewer chances, where neither side created a clear cut opportunity to warrant a goal.
For the Mariners, substitute Kye Rowles at left back played creator for one of their most promising attacking forays with a ball to Connor Pain. Pain cut in from the left, creating space for a shot but it was straight at Izzo who kept his side in the lead.
Trent Buhagiar was the next substitute to impose himself on the game and in the 81st minute another dangerous ball from Rowles was met by a thumping Buhagiar header that was just off target.
The match ended in a 1-0 victory to Adelaide, making for an important home clash for the Mariners against Wellington Phoenix at Central Coast Stadium on New Year’s Eve.
14’ KITTO (1-0): After early domination by the Mariners through both field position and possession the Reds scored against the run of play. Strain and Mileusnic combined cleverly on the right to create space for the cross and then Kitto applied the finishing touch inside the penalty spot.
Paolo in the press
“Take the opportunities, that’s our next step. It’s an area that we know we need to improve. In the end, it was the difference tonight and it’s happened on far too many occasions this season and probably why we sit on 12 points and not have another two or three wins so, from that point we have to improve but the players are doing everything we’re asking, their effort is superb.
“The attitude of the players and the approach was first class and you can only hope that sooner or later you’re going to be rewarded if you perform like that consistently. We congratulate Adelaide on the three points and we move forward to our next game against Wellington.
“Adelaide sit behind the ball and wait to hit you on the counter, you want to limit their ball in transitions. In the first half, we created our chances by getting in behind and we certainly should have had a goal in that first half.
“In that one moment where we needed to defend that cross, I think it was Adelaide’s first attack, they end up scoring. They are small details that cost us in the end but I can’t remember Ben Kennedy having to make a save.
“I thought the ref’ did well tonight, I think we could have had a penalty for a handball. But, the disappointing thing coming into this week for us was, we felt that we had certainly one but maybe two players that shouldn’t have been suspended for tonight’s game.
“Our approach, if you were neutral you would have thought that the team in yellow were the home team. We don’t get the chocolates, that’s football but moving forward we believe that that’s the best way to win football games and we’re not going to change our style,” Okon said.
Central Coast Mariners: 1.Ben KENNEDY(gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Josh ROSE (21.Kye ROWLES 70’), 5.Antony GOLEC, 6.Tom HIARIEJ, 7.Andrew HOOLE, 8.Blake POWELL (9.ASDRUBAL 70’), 10. Danny De SILVA, 11. Connor PAIN, 13. Kwabena APPIAH (12.Trent BUHAGIAR 75’),15. Alan BARO
Substitutes not used: 18.Tom GLOVER (gk), 16.Liam ROSE
Yellow cards: Hoole 35’, De Silva 86’
Adelaide United: 5.Taylor REGAN, 6.Vince LIA (2.Michael MARRONE 88’), 7.Ryan KITTO, 8.ISAÍAS (c), 14.George BLACKWOOD (12.Mark OCHIENG 84’), 17.Nikola MILEUSNIC, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 23.Jordan ELSEY, 29.Ryan STRAIN, 37.Daniel ADLUNG (16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS 75’)
Substitutes not used: 1.Daniel MARGUSH (gk), 25.Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS,
Yellow cards: 20’ Garuccio, Regan 29’, Strain 94’
Tuesday, 26 December 2017
Coopers Stadium, Adelaide
Adelaide United vs. Central Coast Mariners