Reds outclass GCU
Adelaide United have tightened their grip on second place after a 2-1 victory over third-placed Gold Coast United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night.
Adelaide United have recorded their tenth win of the season and kept in touch with league leader Brisbane Roar after a 2-1 victory over third-placed Gold Coast United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday night.
United have strengthened their position behind the Roar and now trail the pace setters by three points with a game in hand.
Goals in each half to Paul Reid and captain Travis Dodd helped set up the win for the Reds while the visitors finished the match with 10 men after James Brown was sent off on the hour after he received his second yellow card for a cynical foul on Cassio.
Reds boss Rini Coolen said his side deserved all three points and was delighted with the immediate response in the second half after conceding with the last kick of the first half.
"I think we deserved the win," he said.
"Maybe we could have scored some more goals. If you see the whole game, there was a moment in the first half where they scored a goal. But you have to come back again in the second half and play the same system and everything was under control. They did well."
Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg echoed the sentiments of his opposite number and agreed the Reds were deserving winners.
"We're not happy to lose, I think we deserved to lose," he said.
"I'm not blaming Adelaide, they did what they need to do. It's just one of those games where things don't go for you, it doesn't go for you. Some games you deserve less and you get more."
United opened the scoring inside 10 minutes when Reid capped off a delightful build up from the home side.
Reid fed Argentine Marcos Flores on the edge of the area and the creative playmaker held the ball up before dropping a no-look chip pass behind the GCU defence for Reid to run on to and smash home a half volley from 10 metres.
The visitors almost equalised five minutes later when former Adelaide striker Bruce Djite out-muscled defender Robert Cornthwaite and pulled the trigger from 12 metres out on a tight ankle.
Djite's power drive had keeper Eugene Galekovic beaten but the striker watched his shot cannon off the post.
United continued to threaten and captain Dodd sent United shot stopper Scott Higgins scrambling after a slick one-two with Sergio van Dijk.
Dodd hit a low left-foot drive to the bottom corner but Higgins got a glove to the shot and kept it out.
The Reds dominated the first half and enjoyed plenty of possession while the visitors looked lethargic and static.
United gave Gold Coast little space to manoeuvre and mount any real threat, shutting down Djite and forcing playmakers Jason Culina and Zenon Caravella to demand the ball in defence rather than the front third.
It mattered little when Bas van den Brink equalised with the last kick of the half with a contender for goal of the season.
Djite teed up the Dutchman and van den Brink fired a rocket first-time past a helpless Galekovic into the top corner from 30 metres out.
A minute after half-time United's lead was restored through Dodd after a clever cross from winger Iain Ramsay.
The speedy left-footer kept the ball in possession when it appeared he would let it run out for a corner, catching the GCU defence napping.
Ramsay's pin-point cross found Dodd who guided his header past Higgins.
The pair combined again just after the hour, as the Reds looked to utilise their extra man advantage, with Ramsay splitting the GCU defence with an incisive through ball.
Dodd latched onto the perfectly weighted pass before shooting first time, only to be denied by the out-rushing Higgins.
Adelaide United 2 (Reid 11, Dodd 47) Gold Coast United 1 (van den Brink 45) Crowd: 12, 005 at Hindmarsh Stadium