Finals fading fast for Adelaide

Adelaide United's slim finals aspirations have become wafer thin after the Reds drew 1-1 with the Central Coast Mariners at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night.

Adelaide United's slim finals aspirations have become wafer thin after the Reds drew 1-1 with the Central Coast Mariners at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night.

The Mariners scored first with a 39th-minute penalty before Travis Dodd registered his second goal in as many weeks to find the equaliser four minutes later.

A win would have seen United draw level on points with the eighth-placed Mariners in what was shaping as a classic six-point game.

Instead the Reds remain anchored to the bottom of the ladder and are unlikely to be heading up the table anytime soon given their lack of quality finishing.

They had numerous corners in both halves, starting with Lloyd Owusu who hadn't played since November and found substitute Shin who was not quite ready for the pressure of the A-League.

Central Coast hasn't won since Round 15 but will be pleased it has managed to snare a point in each of its last two games.

Its finals hopes are more realistic as it is still in striking distance of sixth-placed Perth.

Adelaide United coach Aurelio Vidmar said he hadn't given up on finals despite the disappointing result at home.

"A draw is not good for us at this stage, we plugged away, they worked very hard, tried to find a winner and unfortunately just came up a bit short," Vidmar said.

"We just gave them far too much space in that first half, the quality on the ball was pretty poor but we rectified that in the second half."

Central Coast Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna said his team displayed 'poor execution' to let the Reds back into the game but still felt unlucky not to take three points from the game.

"Adelaide, especially in the second half, put us under pressure but with those chances, on another day, like the last five or six weeks, we could've won the game," McKinna said.

Nik Mrdja was the goal scorer for the Mariners after he went to the spot in the 39th minute and went high and straight with his kick to beat the diving Eugene Galekovic.

Mathew Leckie and Owusu combined to set Dodd up for the equaliser.

Leckie pierced the Mariners' defence with a fleet-footed run, dished off to Owusu in the box who then sent the ball out wide to his captain.

Dodd, who's missed some easy goals this season, took his time with the shot and beat Danny Vukovic to his left.

Both teams were in an attacking mood during the first half with the Reds and the Mariners putting pressure on the goalkeepers with four corners each within the first 16 minutes.

But it was Central Coast which proved a more dangerous force in attack.

A Mrdja attempt was deflected by Galekovic's leg while a free kick, which rebounded off the Reds' wall, was swooped upon by Dean Heffernan but was blocked again by Galekovic.

At the other end Owusu was getting his head to plenty of balls but United's season-long spray fest continued.

The contest was evenly balanced before Cassio shoved Pedj Bojic in the box and the Mariners had earned the penalty and a first half-lead.

But a fired-up Adelaide replied after just four minutes.

The corners kept coming for the Reds in the second half but it was a 20-metre free kick from Cassio in the 51st minute which posed the greatest threat.

The ball was curling towards the left-hand corner of the net before Vukovic pushed the ball over the crossbar.

Bradley Porter had Galekovic diving to his right and left with two dangerous strikers while Mrdja was an ever-present danger with his set pieces.

United made some changes to the line-up but the substitutes couldn't spark a match-winner from its team-mates.

Adelaide United 1 (Dodd 43) Central Coast Mariners 1 (Mrdja 39) Crowd: 10,156 at Hindmarsh Stadium