Adelaide United’s eight match unbeaten run against Central Coast Mariners has ended following a 2-1 loss in Gosford on Sunday evening.
Kye Rowles and Milan Duric had the Mariners two goals in front at the break and the margin proved too big a hill to climb.
Ben Halloran’s screamer to start the second-half looked to spark a revival but the Reds could not register a second as their disappointing start proved costly.
Gerjan Verbeek made two changes to the starting XI with both of them enforced. Paul Izzo (adductor) and George Blackwood (calf) were replaced by Isaac Richards, who received his Hyundai A-League debut and Nathan Konstandopoulos made his maiden start of the season to reach 50 Hyundai A-League appearances.
Adelaide started the match in lacklustre fashion and fell behind after four minutes when Rowles dispatched a finish into the bottom corner after Adelaide could not clear the ball away to safety from the Mariners set-piece.
Adelaide then missed several chances to draw level after appearing dangerous in transition.
Nathan Konstandopoulos saw the ball fall kindly at the top of the box but he could not capitalise, instead dragging his shot wide of the target. Halloran also had a shot saved by Birighitti moments later following an incisive forward move.
James Troisi then hit the side-netting after being cleverly played in by Konstandopoulos, before Halloran surged forward on a brilliant run but pulled his effort harmlessly astray.
The Reds were made to rue those wasted opportunities and on 42 minutes another set-piece would be their Achilles heel. A corner fell to Duric outside the box and he faked to shoot before unleashing a stinging drive from distance and past a helpless Richards.
Verbeek was after an immediate response to begin the second stanza and the message was seemingly received.
Within seconds from the re-start, Halloran had the ball in the back of the net after firing an absolute rocket into the top corner on his non-preferred left-foot.
Adelaide continued to push for the equaliser but to no avail.
Jordan Elsey, who was brought on at half-time saw a header fly wide from a corner, and Nikola Mileusnić’s bouncing effort was parried by the goalkeeper.
The Mariners also came close to increasing their advantage on a couple of occasions. Danny Desilva hit the top of the net with an audacious chipped attempt.
Halloran thought he was clipped by Tommy Oar in the box though the referee waved the appeals away.
Adelaide laboured to try and restore parity in stoppage time but their slow start ultimately cost them as the visitors suffered their first loss to Central Coast since February 2017.
4’ | GOAL: Adelaide can’t clear their lines from the set-piece and the ball drops to Rowles who steers his half-volley into the bottom corner.
29’ | CHANCE! Troisi shoots into the side netting after Konstandopoulos’s deft touch played the midfielder in.
42’ | GOAL: Duric drops the shoulder before firing a stunning strike from distance and it flies past Richards into the net.
46’ | GOAL! Halloran goes bang and sees his left-footed strike from the edge of the box fly into the top corner.
Sunday, 22 December 2019
Hyundai A-League 2019/20 Season – Round 11
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Rowles 4’ Duric 42’)
Adelaide United 1 (Halloran 46’)
Venue: Central Coast Stadium