A late penalty from Craig Goodwin has given Adelaide United a smash-and-grab 2-1 win over Newcastle Jets on Sunday night.
Nikola Mileusnić opened the scoring with his third goal in two matches before Roy O’Donovan equalised 14 minutes from time.
But a rash challenge by Nigel Boogaard on Ryan Kitto saw the referee point to the spot with Craig Goodwin successfully converting his penalty in stoppage time.
It was a gutsy victory for Adelaide who had to dig deep and were largely indebted to gloveman, Paul Izzo, for a phenomenal display between the sticks.
There were three changes to the starting line-up that drew with Western Sydney Wanderers, both enforced and tactical. Taylor Regan replaced the suspended Jordan Elsey, while Ryan Strain was preferred at right-back over Michael Marrone.
In midfield, Ken Ilsø returned at the expense of Nathan Konstandopoulos, while there was a place for George Blackwood on the bench after his injury lay-off.
Despite the warm conditions, both sides played at a high tempo and not afraid to throw numbers forward early on.
O’Donovan saw his header deflect wide from Dimitri Petratos’s dangerous delivery before Nikola Mileusnić’s lovely cross was volleyed wide by Ken Ilsø.
However, it was the Jets that settled first and had the better of the chances.
Adelaide capitalised on Newcastle’s profligacy, scoring against the run of play in the 38th minute. Ben Halloran’s audacious flick caught Glen Moss wondering, and the ball ricocheted off the post and the ‘keeper for Mileusnić to profit on the rebound.
Newcastle almost grabbed an immediate reply after the break when Jair’s bouncing header from Jason Hoffman’s cross was acrobatically tipped away by Izzo.
It was very much a second-half onslaught which the Reds had to navigate.
Taylor Regan and Michael Jakobsen blocked a number of shots while Izzo produced several crucial saves.
United rarely threatened in the second stanza but when they did they almost scored via an incisive counter-attacking move involving Kitto and Goodwin.
However, their resistance would be broken when O’Donovan’s header from Kaine Sheppard’s cross restored parity on 76 minutes.
Adelaide continued to survive the relentless pressure and Kitto made a foray forward into the box which saw the winger scythed down by Boogaard.
Goodwin effortless dispatched the subsequent penalty for his fourth league goal of the season to end 2018 on a high note for the Reds.
30’ | SAVE! Izzo gets down brilliant to his near post to make a diving save on Jair’s shot after meeting Georgievski’s cross.
34’ | Ugarkovic connects first-time with Georgievski’s bouncing ball but he cannot direct his effort on target.
38’ | GOAL! Halloran tries a speculative flicked attempt which catches out Moss and hits the post with Mileusnić quickest to react and tap home the rebound.
47’ | SAVE! Jair thumps his header into the ground which Izzo is equal to and repels the effort away to safety.
67’ | OFFSIDE! O’Donovan thinks he has scored after finishing Jair’s square pass but he’s correctly ruled offside.
76’ | GOAL: O’Donovan times his run to perfection and heads home Sheppard’s in-swinging cross to make it 1-1.
90’+1’ | GOAL! Goodwin converts the ensuing penalty to take all three points.
Sunday, 30 December
Hyundai A-League 2018/19 – Round 10
Newcastle Jets 1 (O’Donovan 76’ )
Adelaide United 2 (Mileusnić 38’ Goodwin 90’+1’)
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium