Mariners score 2-1 win over Adelaide - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Mariners score 2-1 win over Adelaide

By Hannibal Rossi 14/12/2007 11:20:03 PM Comments (0)

World Cup hero John Aloisi laid out his credentials to visiting new Socceroo coach Pim Verbeek after netting again for Central Coast Mariners in their 2-1 win over Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium.

Aloisi volleyed home an Andrew Clark cross at the far post in the 23rd minute to claim his fourth goal in five matches before strike partner Sasho Petrovski swept the ball home from close range in the 49th minute to set up victory.

Adelaide captain Paul Agostino also kept up his rich vein of scoring form by netting a looping header in the 71st minute to set up a tense finish.

But it wasn't enough despite some close calls for the Mariners in the dying minutes and they shored up top spot with a game in hand, and moved closer to a double finals chance.

Mariners coach Lawrie McKinna rushed back experienced trio Tom Pondeljak, John Hutchinson and Petrovski after losing out to Queensland the previous match and it paid dividends quickly as his side turned up the heat on an unbalanced Adelaide team which has won just once in its past seven games.

The loss puts extra pressure on Adelaide holding onto a top four spot in that run with combatants Newcastle Jets and Sydney FC to play this weekend.

The Mariners dominated the first half with Hutchinson, Pondeljak and Dean Heffernan causing Adelaide headaches from every direction.

But it took a brilliant interception from right full back Andrew Clark to carve out the gilt edge opening for Aloisi to score.

He intercepted a Cassio run and quickly crossed to the far post for unmarked Aloisi to volley home with his left foot for the opener.

Aloisi should have doubled the lead in the 40th minute after racing clear of defenders but screwed his right foot shot wide with just Adelaide keeper Eugene Glaekovic to beat.

Pondeljak also just cleared the crossbar with a 20m drive in the 44th minute as rain made defending harder.

But Petrovski made Adelaide pay for poor defending at a corner in the 49th minute when John Hutchinson's kick sailed over a pack of players and rebounded off a static Cassio on his line to give the ex-Socceroo an easy tap in for his sixth goal of the season.

Galekovic kept Adelaide's faint hopes alive with a point blank save from Petrovski in the 65th minute before United sprang to life with Agostino's looping header from Cassio's cross.

Mariners keeper Danny Vukovic had to make a smart save to deny a Travis Dodd header in the 80th minute before also denying Agostino in the 83rd minute.

McKinna said he thought his team could improve 30 to 40 percent before the end of the season.

"We talked about the importance of self belief today and tonight we showed that," he said.

"To come here and play so well for 70 minutes and then dig in for the last 20 minutes when Adelaide came at us was the sign of a strong team."

McKinna said the game had also provided a great showcase for the abilities of potential Socceroo candidates such as Hutchinson, Dean Heffernan, Petrovski and Aloisi as well as Olyroo keeper Vukovic.

"It didn't harm their chances," he said.

Marquee signing Aloisi said he was happy to score three goals in two matches against Adelaide but was happier at the team's level of performance.

"We probably should have been three or four up before Adelaide came back but as a whole, it was probably the best performance by the team since I've been here," he said.

"It would have been good to get a couple more myself tonight."

Adelaide United coach Aurelio Vidmar said his side didn't deserve anything despite its late fightback.

"You can't play for just 20 minutes. Central Coast showed why they're top," said Vidmar.

"If we'd taken a point, it would have been highway robbery."

Vidmar acknowledged his side now faced "four grand finals" in its final four games to stay in the finals hunt.

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