Match preview: Central Coast Mariners v Adelaide United
Adelaide United cruised to a 3-0 win on their last visit to Gosford this season but will face a Central Coast Mariners side on a high after a morale-boosting F3 Derby win last time out.
In what was interim boss Alen Stajcic’s first game in charge, Central Coast caused a huge shock and put a dent in Newcastle Jets’ finals hopes in a crazy 3-2 win a fortnight ago.
Now, with some belief starting to return, the Gosford club will be looking to throw a spanner in the works of Adelaide’s top-six quest when they host the Reds on Sunday (5.00pm AEDT kick off).
While the Mariners remain adrift at the foot of the ladder with just two wins for the campaign, there were some encouraging signs from Stajcic’s debut game in the dugout.
There seemed a more structured, defensive game-plan, while their confidence grew with every tackle won and subsequent goal that went in.
In contrast, the Reds have been in somewhat of a crisis in recent weeks.
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Not only have Adelaide failed to win any of their last five matches, but they also haven’t scored in more than five hours of Hyundai A-League action.
Throw in the news that coach Marco Kurz’s contract won’t be renewed come the end of the season and there’s suddenly some doubt over the team's finals credentials.
Adelaide – in sixth spot - currently has a five-point buffer to the seventh-placed Newcastle Jets, which -depending on the outcome of Newcastle's trip to Wellington Phoenix on Saturday - could be as little as two points come kick off in Gosford on Sunday.
It all sets up an intriguing 90 minutes.
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Key Opta stats
- Central Coast Mariners’ last win against Adelaide United at Central Coast Stadium in the Hyundai A-League came in 2015; they’ve since lost four such fixtures in succession.
- The Reds have failed to score a goal in each of their last three Hyundai A-League games. They have never gone four games in the competition without scoring a goal.
- Mariners full-back Matthew Millar has provided eight assists in Hyundai A-League 2018/19 Season, the joint-most of any player in the competition (level with Victory’s James Troisi).
Ins and outs
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ben KENNEDY (gk), 2.Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITS, 3.Jack CLISBY, 6. Tom HIARIEJ, 7. Andrew HOOLE, 8.Michael McGLINCHEY,11.Connor PAIN, 18.Matt MILLAR, 12.Adam PEARCE (gk), 13.Aiden O’NEILL, 15.Kye ROWLES, 19.Matt SIMON (c), 22.Jacob MELLING, 23.Mario SHABOW 25.Jordan MURRAY, 28.Sam GRAHAM, 29.Stephen MALLON, 68.Jem KARACAN **two to be omitted**
Ins: 7.Andrew HOOLE (return from injury), 8.Michael McGLINCHEY (return from injury), 12.Adam PEARCE (gk) (promoted), 13.Aiden O’NEILL (return from international duty), 15.Kye ROWLES (return from international duty), 19.Matt SIMON (c) (return from suspension)
Outs: 17.Peter KEKERIS (not selected), 24.Joe GAUCI (gk) (not selected), 26.Josh NISBET (not selected), 33.Lewis MILLER (not selected)
Unavailable: 10.Tommy OAR (knee injury)
Adelaide United squad: 1.Daniel MARGUŠ, 2.Michael MARRONE, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Ryan STRAIN, 6.Vince LIA, 7.Ryan KITTO, 8.Isaías SÁNCHEZ (c), 11.Craig GOODWIN, 14.George BLACKWOOD, 16.Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS, 17.Nikola MILEUSNIĆ, 19.Jordy THOMASSEN, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 22.Michael JAKOBSEN, 24.Pacifique NIYONGABIRE, 26.Ben HALLORAN, 31.Mirko BOLAND, 33.Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS **two to be omitted**
Ins: 1.Daniel MARGUŠ (returns from international duty), 14.George BLACKWOOD (returns from international duty), 24.Pacifique NIYONGABIRE (promoted), 26.Ben HALLORAN (returns from injury), 33.Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS (promoted)
Outs: 10.Ken ILSØ (suspended), 30.Isaac RICHARDS (not selected), 32.Carlo ARMIENTO (not selected)
Unavailable: 9.Baba DIAWARA (knee), 23.Jordan ELSEY (foot)
How to watch
CLICK HERE to get your tickets for the clash at Central Coast Stadium.