Adelaide United's mid-season revival has contiinued after recording a hard-fought 3-1 win over Central Coast Mariners at Coopers Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Craig Goodwin gave the hosts the lead on the hour mark before former Reds winger Fabio Ferreira restored parity with a well-taken strike seven minutes later.
But goals to Pablo Sanchez and Mate Dugandzic in the final 10 minutes gave the Reds a well deserved victory.
1-0 Craig Goodwin (60') - Pablo Sanchez crossed from deep on the right side, with Goodwin collecting the ball just outside the box on the left, and made no mistake.
1-1 Fabio Ferreira (67') - After a forward flurry of passes by Central Coast, Ferreira had the ball in the box and cleverly beat his direct opponent and the keeper, his hard shot low in the net on the left.
2-1 Pablo Sanchez (80') - James Jeggo's corner kick to the top of the box was headed home by Sanchez to give United the lead again.
3-1 Mate Dugandzic (90') - Craig Goodwin worked the ball to the back line and getting close to goal passed to Dugandzic, who made no mistake.
After dominating the play for the first 45 minutes, Adelaide United looked like going into half time 1-0 down when a penalty was awarded to Central Coast with seconds left. Fortunately for Adelaide, Fabio Ferreira's shot flew over the bar, robbing the visitors of taking a shock lead.
Adelaide also missed a penalty earlier, when, 31 minutes in, Marcelo Carrusca fired over the bar from the spot.
Under immense pressure in the first half, Mariners goalkeeper Alastair Bray made some outstanding saves, which could have paid dividends if Fabio Ferreira scored from a penalty just before half time when the score was 0-0.
There were at least four shots that looked to be going into the net for Adelaide in the first half, which Bray was able to redirect to safety.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
For Central Coast, its inability to match Adelaide's quick movement and speed could have been dire if not for goalkeeper Bray, although when the Mariners picked up the pace after the break, Adelaide actually was able to find the net.
For Adelaide it will be about working through its forward thrusts when having the advantage in numbers - too many shots that could have been passed to a player in a better position, although it was an improved effort after the break.
THE FINAL WORD
For Adelaide it switches from playing the bottom side at home to a top team away (Brisbane Roar), but with good form and the lure of a higher spot on the table, an upset could be on the cards.
After its New Year's Eve breakthrough win over Wellington and draw with Melbourne Victory after a good first half, the Mariners were disappointing in the application against Adelaide and need to find that spark again.
Adelaide United: Margush (gk), Marrone, La Rocca, McGowan, Sanchez (Dugandzic 84'), Isaias, Carrusca, Djite (Babalj 71'), Goodwin, Jeggo (Mells 89'), Elrich.
Central Coast Mariners: Bray (gk), Roux, J. Rose, Ascroft (L. Rose HT), Austin (Stella HT), Ferreira, Montgomery, Bingham, Neill (Buhagiar 84'), McGing, Uskok.
Scorers: Goodwin 60', Ferreira 67', Sanchez 80', Dugandzic 90'
Red Cards: Nil
Yellow Cards: J. Rose 17', Jeggo 28', Marrone 45', McGing 56', L. Rose 76', Neill 81'
Conditions: 24°C, dry
Attendance: 11,125 @ Coopers Stadium