Adelaide United ground out a hard fought 2-1 win over Central Coast Mariners at Coopers Stadium on Thursday night.
The Reds were made to work for the victory and have temporarily moved back into second spot of the A-League, equal on 36 points with Wellington Phoenix.
Central Coast enjoyed the brighter start and the majority of possession, restricting Adelaide to playing long balls out from defence.
After a sustained period of pressure, the Mariners took a deserved lead on 23 minutes, courtesy of a wonder strike from Anthony Caceres.
The playmaker picked the pocket of United midfielder Isaias after he was caught in possession, before taking a touch and firing his shot from 30 metres past Reds keeper Eugene Galekovic.
But, United drew level within two minutes after an equally impressive goal from Argentine Marcelo Carrusca.
Tarek Elrich supplied the Reds attacking midfielder, who sidestepped his opponent and hit the back of the net with a powerful left-footed strike from the edge of the area.
The home side were much improved after the break and Sergio Cirio tested Liam Reddy within the first few minutes of the restart following a neat one-two with Michael Marrone.
Bruce Djite was next to try his luck and Reddy was again equal to the task with a strong save on the hour.
But the Mariners shot stopper could only watch moments later as Carrusca’s free kick whizzed past the post, narrowly missing the target.
The Reds eventually found the breakthrough on 67 minutes, albeit courtesy of a heavy deflection. Craig Goodwin cut inside and slammed his shot into the outstretched leg of Zac Anderson, forcing the ball to loop over Reddy.
Anderson could have brought Central Coast level three minutes later, rising highest to connect with a Caceres free kick, but his header was directed straight at Galekovic.
Reds coach Josep Gombau said he was delighted Adelaide was able to recover from a slow start and equalise within minutes of Central Coast’s opener and hold on for the victory.
“I think the first half wasn’t so good but the second half was better,” Gombau said.
“For me the key moment is the moment they score and one minute later we score.
“We did very good in Wellington and we did not get the result and today maybe we don’t play this good and we get the result.”
Mariners coach Tony Walmsley lamented his side’s failure to maintain their lead after United drew level within two minutes.
“We went at them quickly and got a goal and probably deserved the lead at that stage,” Walmsley said.
“I suppose (I am) very disappointed to concede so soon after.
“It could’ve been one that we could’ve held on with.”
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