Resilient 10-man Reds salvage 2-2 draw against Mariners

Ten-man Adelaide United have come from two goals down to record a stunning 2-2 draw in an action packed affair against Central Coast Mariners at Coopers Stadium on Saturday night.

Andrew Hoole scored a clever free-kick to open the scoring, before Ersan Gülüm was controversially dismissed for the Reds for a foul on Trent Buhagiar.

An own goal from Ryan Strain doubled the Mariners’ advantage in the second stanza, but Jordan Elsey halved the deficit with a header on the hour mark.

And parity was restored in emphatic fashion thanks to George Blackwood’s finish on 83 minutes.

Marco Kurz fielded an identical line-up to the one that defeated Perth Glory 2-1, exactly two weeks’ ago. Elsey featured in the heart of defence while Isaías was deployed in his traditional deep-lying playmaking role at the base of the midfield.

Blackwood, who has recently been in a rich vein of scoring form, was named as the striker. However, there was a new face on the bench with recent signing Slovenian talisman Džengis Čavušević named amongst the substitutes.

It was a far from ideal start for Adelaide when Hoole bagged a free-kick, directing his shot through the wall and aided by teammate Jake McGing ducking just in time.  

The Reds’ hopes of equalising were compounded when Gülüm was sent off in the 18th minute much to the dismay of the home crowd.

Paul Izzo made a succession of crucial saves approaching the break to keep the Reds in the contest.

Kurz’s men showed excellent endeavour in the second-half as they battled with ten men.

But their task was made harder when the Reds conceded an own goal, until a brilliant fightback had United level courtesy of goals from Elsey and Blackwood.

The result extended Adelaide’s unbeaten run to three matches while it was the first time since August 2010 that this fixture ended all square.

Key moments:

7’ | GOAL: Hoole opens the scoring with bending his free-kick low into the far post and leaving Izzo rooted to the spot.

18’ | RED CARD! Gülüm is given his marching orders when he was adjudged to have pushed Buhagiar, despite replays suggesting there was minimal contact.

22’ | Nikola Mileusnic strikes the side netting on the angle after being fed by Blackwood.

36’ | Izzo pulls off a spectacular save to deny Alan Baro from nine yards out, diving to his left and tipping it around the post.

37’ | The Adelaide gloveman is again called into action pushing wide Hoole’s bouncing effort.

53’ | OWN GOAL: Strain inadvertently turns the ball into his own net from Hoole’s corner.

61’ | GOAL! Elsey rises highest to connect with Ben Garuccio’s accurate set-piece and steer his header past the ‘keeper.

74’ | Blackwood cuts inside and agonisingly hits the base of the upright.

83’ | GOAL! Adlung’s cross finds Blackwood at the back post and did not need an invitation to shoot – smacking the underside of the crossbar to score his fifth in eight matches.

87’ | Čavušević almost scores a header on debut but is amazingly denied by Kennedy.

Match details:

Saturday, 17 February 2018
Hyundai A-League 2017/18 Season - Round 20
Adelaide United 2 (Elsey 61’ Blackwood 83’)
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Hoole 7’ Strain OG 53’)
Venue: Coopers Stadium
Attendance: 8,282