Adelaide edge Mariners in cagey Boxing Day clash
Adelaide United opened a five-point gap to Central Coast Mariners as Ryan Kitto's fifth goal of the campaign secured a 1-0 win at Coopers Stadium on Tuesday.
Kitto turned home a classy team move early in the first half and that proved all Adelaide needed to reclaim fourth from Melbourne Victory.
The Mariners probed for an equaliser either side of the break but lacked the cutting edge to avoid a third consecutive defeat, leaving them four points outside the top six.
STORY OF THE GAME
- Despite a confident start, Central Coast found themselves trailing to Kitto's tidy finish in the 14th minute.
- Paul Izzo made three saves in quick succession to preserve Adelaide's early lead.
- Kitto charged onto a corner at the other end and almost headed home a second, but his effort was nodded off the line by Josh Rose.
- Izzo made one final save from Kwabena Appiah before Ben Kennedy parried Kitto's volley to close out an entertaining first half.
- Connor Pain threatened to break open a tense second stanza when he dribbled into the area, but his left-footed finish was straight at Izzo.
- With the final chance of the match, Trent Buhagiar failed to keep down a header from Kye Rowles' enticing cross.
Kitto, Adelaide United 14': 1-0
Nikola Mileusnic exchanged multiple passes on the right with Ryan Strain, who fired in a low cross that Kitto skilfully flicked past Kennedy.