Adelaide United FC has relinquished top spot on the Hyundai A-League table to the Central Coast Mariners for now at least after suffering a 2-1 defeat in the battle of the top two at Bluetongue Stadium.
Adelaide United FC has relinquished its spot at the top of the Hyundai A-League table to the Central Coast Mariners for now at least after a 2-1 defeat in the battle of the top two at Bluetongue Stadium.
In trying conditions, Bruce Djite-s first goal of the season on his return to the starting line up gave the Reds a sniff of ending a run of eight games without a win over the Mariners, but last season-s Premiers responded as first Josh Rose and then Nick Montgomery found the back of the net.
The loss is just the Reds- second of the season and sees them go a point behind the Mariners while they have a three point break on the third placed Melbourne Victory who come to Hindmarsh Stadium for a mouth watering fixture next Friday night.
Young goalkeeper Paul Izzo was given his debut Hyundai A-League appearance as the Reds were without Eugene Galekovic, Dario Vidosic or Marcelo Carrusca from last weekend-s win over Sydney FC, and the 17 year old made a fine early impression as he produced a superb save low to his left to deny Michael McGlinchey in just the 4th minute.
With conserving energy in the heat and humidity at a premium, the Reds enjoyed a significant amount of possession as the Mariners seemed content to sit back in their own half and hit on the counter.
The home side had a couple of half chances but in the 17th minute the combination of Zenon Caravella and Djite brought about an impressive Reds breakthrough and the club-s 250th Hyundai A-League goal.
Receiving the ball 30 metres out with his back to goal, Djite fed the ball backwards to Caravella before making position to get it back as the Mariners defence retreated allowing the striker to turn, size up the opening and strike a left footed effort out of the reach of a diving Justin Pasfield.
Nigel Boogaard came up with a timely block from a McGlinchey shot as the Mariners tried to erase the deficit before Fabio Ferreira cut a ball back aimed at Djite at the other end only to see it intercepted by the Mariners defence.
Izzo-s confidence was seemingly growing as the game went on but just when it appeared the Reds would safely go into half time a goal up, Daniel McBreen swept a pass out to Rose on the left and he took one touch before rifling the ball into the back of the net from the edge of the penalty area to make it 1-1.
Bernie Ibini was guilty of failing to it the target as he let the Reds off the hook five minutes after the restart while the battle in midfield was heating up as Fabian Barbiero came in for some rough house treatment from John Hutchinson and Nick Montgomery, who both found themselves going into the referee-s book.
Coach John Kosmina went to his bench with half an hour remaining, Sergio van Dijk coming on in only his third appearance of the season as he replaced an exhausted Caravella.
Van Dijk enjoys an ominous record at Bluetongue but it was one of the Mariners- new faces, Nick Montgomery who would make the headlines as he put the Central Coast in front after Mitchell Duke did the build up work.
Kosmina brought on Jeronimo Neumann and Iain Ramsay as the Reds strived for an equaliser but it was not forthcoming as they were again left to leave Bluetongue Stadium empty handed.
Match Details Central Coast Mariners 2 (Rose 45-, Montgomery 76-) Adelaide United FC 1 (Djite 17-) Referee: Alan Milliner Crowd: 6,885 @ Bluetongue Stadium
Central Coast Mariners starting line-up: 20.Justin Pasfield (Gk), 2.Daniel McBreen (6.Patrick Zwaanswijk 89-), 3.Joshua Rose, 4.Pedj Bojic, 5.Zachary Anderson, 7.John Hutchinson (c), 9.Bernie Ibini (19.Mitchell Duke 58-), 11.Oliver Bozanic (8.Adriano Pellegrino 72-), 14.Michael McGlinchey, 16.Trent Sainsbury, 18.Nick Montgomery Substitutes not used: 30.David Bradasevic (Gk) Yellow Cards: Hutchinson 51-, Bojic 53-, Montgomery 60-, McBreen 75- Red Cards: Nil
Adelaide United starting line-up: 20.Paul Izzo (gk), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 5.Iain Fyfe (17.Iain Ramsay 85-), 6.Cassio (c), 7.Zenon Caravella (9.Sergio van Dijk 62-), 11.Bruce Djite (21.Jeronimo Neumann 78-), 14.Cameron Watson, 18.Fabian Barbiero, 22.Fabio Ferreira, 23.Evan Kostopoulos Substitutes not used: 30.John Hall (gk) Yellow Cards: Nil Red Cards: Nil