Mariners set to recreate Adelaide's pain - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mariners set to recreate Adelaide's pain

By Sebastian Hassett 05/10/2006 07:35:18 PM Comments (0)

The mere mention of last year's A-League preliminary final is enough to send a horrible chill down the spine of any Adelaide United supporter.

After streaking away to win the regular season premiership by seven points, Adelaide went into the finals series and fell just short against Sydney FC over two pulsating legs.

However, a rematch with Sydney in the final seemed inevitable when Adelaide was drawn to host the largely anonymous Central Coast Mariners in the preliminary final at home the following week.

But the Mariners clearly forgot to read the script.

An early Tom Pondeljak strike proved enough to propel the Mariners past Adelaide, leaving the shocked host's dreams of extracting revenge on Sydney - and lifting the championship - in tatters.

"Hindmarsh Stadium holds many happy memories for us after what happened last season," said Mariners' development coach Alex Tobin ahead of Friday night's preliminary final rematch.

"We're hopeful that we'll have another win to boast tomorrow."

However, Tobin - who made his name in Adelaide during a 16-year stint with Adelaide City in the National Soccer League - knows any trip to the city of churches is fraught with danger for visiting teams.

"Adelaide United have consistently proven that they are one of the powerhouse teams of the A-League," he said.

"There's no such thing as any easy game against them and they'll be even more determined to put on a positive show for their home fans after their loss to Sydney FC earlier this week."

Adding to the Mariners' claims is the return of jinxed star John Hutchinson, who has fully recovered from an ankle strain - which he picked up immediately after resuming from a seven-month injury layoff.

Hutchinson takes the place of veteran striker Stewart Petrie, who has returned temporarily to Scotland for family issues, while Damien Brown comes in for Socceroo defender Tony Vidmar.

For Adelaide, its striking woes remain, with Carl Veart possibly being forced into attack to partner Nathan Burns, as first-choice duo Fernando and Shengqing Qu are still out through injury and suspension respectively.

In Perth, the Glory will look to build on its emphatic 3-0 victory over Newcastle last week when it tackles the lowly New Zealand Knights later that night.

While Stan Lazaridis joins Dodd and Vidmar with the Socceroos squad in Brisbane, steely defender Ante Kovacevic resumes from injury and is expected to slot straight back into the starting 11.

Coach Ron Smith has also called for attacking reinforcements by including striker Mimi Saric, despite the presence of Naum Sekulovski, Bobby Despotovski, Leo Bertos and the in-form Stuart Young in the 16-man squad.

For the Knights, Michael White and Dutchman Frank Van Eijs come in for the suspended Greg Duruz and Che Bunce, while defensive pair Jonas Salley and Matt Carbon remain sidelined with injury.

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