Smeltz steals it

Late drama at Skilled Park on Saturday night has seen Shane Smeltz rescue a point for Gold Coast United as the home side drew 1-1 with Adelaide at Skilled Park.

Late drama at Skilled Park on Saturday night has seen Shane Smeltz rescue a point for Gold Coast United as the home side drew 1-1 with Adelaide at Skilled Park.

Reds' Captain Travis Dodd put the visitors in front early in the first half and with Adelaide dominating the game the win was seemingly in the bag. But Smeltz was not going to let the game slip and headed home clinically deep into injury time.

Beginning its first game of three in nine days, Gold Coast dominated early possession and nearly came close on eight minutes when Steve Fitzsimmons whipped in a fantastic cross to Shane Smeltz who headed just wide of goal.

Early pressure then seemed to wake Adelaide and Captain Travis Dodd had a good effort from outside the area a few minutes later, his right-foot effort forcing United 'keeper Jess Vanstrattan to dive to his right but the ball failed to hit the target.

The Red's captain then opened up the scoring in the 20th minute after Cassio's run into the box unwrapped the Gold Coast defence.

The speedy Brazilian cut a pass to Mathew Leckie at the top of area who found Dodd open at the back post, the No.13 side-footing home Adelaide's 17th goal of the season.

With the match moving freely between both sides, Adelaide looked more dangerous going forward and the Red's were able to hit the final third with intent.

Gold Coast in comparison struggled to link its final pass a problem that plagued the side early in the season particularly against Newcastle .

Smeltz's frustration up-front came to a head when the A-league's top scorer lunged into Adelaide defender Ian Fyfe five minutes before half-time. Referee Peter Green wasn't impressed and showed Smeltz a yellow card.

The final action of the half came at the start of stoppage time, Adelaide nearly hitting Gold Coast on the counter as Cassio drove a left-foot effort low and hard at Vanstrattan.

Emerging from the half-time break Gold Coast Captain Jason Culina came close early on when Joel Porter played a great ball in from the right however pressure from Red's midfielder Fabian Barbiero proved too much as Culina scuffed his chance from close range.

Looking dangerous Dodd then flashed close a minute later, his effort followed by Charlie Miller at the other-end but the Scot, who had time, chose to hit first time consequently miss-timing the shot.

In familiar circumstances, Adelaide countered again in the 55th minute, Christiano finding speedster Leckie whose shot hit the outside netting after steaming into the box.

Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg made two changes on the hour-mark, replacing Porter and Miller with forward Andrew Barasic and attacking midfielder James Brown, both of whom had been performing well in the youth side.

Zenon Caravella was unlucky to be booked five minutes later after he fouled Lucas Pantelis and with Adelaide looking to sure things up coach Aurelio Vidmar brought on Inseob Shin for a tired Christiano.

A cross from Cassio on the left then saw Dodd rise well above United defenders a short time later, his headed effort forced Vanstrattan to dive low to his left, the United custodian managing to hold on.

Adelaide had a great chance to seal the match in the 78th minute when Vanstrattan tipped Cassio's shot wide. As the ball spilled wide Leckie passed to Dodd with Vanstrattan still on the ground but with the goal wide open Dodd couldn't keep his shot down and the ball sailed over.

After scoring two against Brisbane, former Adelaide man Krisitan Rees was moved up-front in a bid to find an equaliser and in the 83rd minute the big defender nearly hit home from a corner but his shot blazed over.

Gold Coast was rewarded for its efforts deep into second-half injury time as Smeltz headed home Culina's cross high into the top right hand corner. The kiwi international's goal left the crowd breathing a sigh of relief after Adealaide had dominated the majority of second-half chances.

After the match Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg admitted that Adelaide deserved more from the match but was happy with his side's great escape.

"Adelaide deserved more, I'm proud of my boys we played bad and when you get a point against a team like Adelaide who was playing out of their skin it shows our quality in this competition."

"I'm very proud of the character of the boys, again we didn't give up although we had a bad day and that's a sign of things to come."

"Hopefully the momentum from tonight's game carries through to the game against Newcastle on Wednesday," Bleiberg said.

Reds coach Aurelio Vidmar was visibly disappointed with the draw but thought his side played well maintaining that their finals chances were slim but alive.

"I though we deserved to win two matches with the way we played tonight, it was disappointing we could have had three or four goals tonight,"

"We were desperate for the three points tonight and we played like a team who was focused."

"We have to believe that this result is a good platform to finish of the season, I know it's stretching the points from where we are to sixth place, but mathematically it's still possible. If we can take that form into next weeks match we're in good show." Vidmar said.

Gold Coast United - 1 (Smeltz 90+2') Adelaide United - 1 (Dodd 20') Crowd - 4, 505 @ Skilled Park Mark Pangallo