The Central Coast Mariners have upset high-flying Adelaide United at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday afternoon with a 2-1 victory, just the third of their stop-start season.

Going on recent form the Mariners should never have won this game, having been victim of a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Sydney last week. The Reds beat Newcastle 7-0 in their last outing, and when Adelaide went up in the 29th minute the result seemed inevitable.

But two late goals for the home side were enough to keep the three points from travelling back to Adelaide.

Nick Fitzgerald brought the Mariners back on level terms in the 79th minute from the penalty spot after defender Michael Marrone was deemed to have handled the ball. The initial penalty was saved by Eugene Galekovic but Fitzgerald pounced on the rebound and easily knocked it past the Adelaide gloveman.

Four minutes later defender Josh Rose gave the Mariners the lead after picking up Mitch Duke’s through ball in the box. His low drive left Galekovic with no chance and the New South Welshmen were singing to the tune of a most valuable victory.

In spite of the flamboyant last ten minutes the game was played in a repugnant style, with a number of passes missing their targets and shots from too far out going high and wide. It was music to the ears of the Mariners, but Adelaide boss Josep Gombau will be left wondering why his side were able to look so ordinary having looked so good just two weeks ago.

Gombau’s side took the lead in the 29th minute in a rare moment of fluidity, after Awer Mabil turned beautifully around his marker and drove past Liam Reddy. As has been the case for most of the season Sergio Cirio was the architect, floating his cross to the far post for the young striker to collect.

Adelaide was perhaps behind the eight ball from the outset, disadvantaged by the absence of playmaker Marcelo Carrusca and Vice-captain Nigel Boogaard at centre-back. Regular skipper Galekovic was back in goals having returned from the Asian Cup campaign, and former Real Madrid player Miguel Palanca sat on the pines for the first half.

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Meanwhile Central Coast boss Phil Moss went with youth, bringing on 17-year-old Anthony Kalik and 16-year-old Liam Rose in the second half, and while they didn’t have a major impact on the result, starting their careers with a win will bring confidence to a side that needs all that it can get in the final stages of the season.

The win gives the Mariners more breathing space from the bottom two spots on the ladder, while Adelaide could now be overtaken Melbourne Victory and Wellington Phoenix and drop down to fourth on the ladder.

Central Coast will play its next game on 13 February at home to Brisbane Roar, and the Reds will host league leaders Perth Glory the on 15 February.

Central Coast Mariners: 2. Storm Roux, 3. Joshua Rose, 4. Jacob Poscoliero, 7. John Hutchinson (C), 8. Nick Montgomery (Liam Rose 69’), 9. Mitchell Duke, 10. Anthony Caceres (Anthony Kalik 60’), 11. Nick Fitzgerald (Travis Major 87’), 12. Liam Reddy (GK), 19. Matt Simon, 25. Eddy Bosnar

Unused Substitutes: 1. Matthew Nash (GK), 15. Matthew Sim

Adelaide United: 1 Eugene Galekovic (GK) (C), 2. Michael Marrone, 5. Osama Malik, 7. Pablo Sanchez, 8. Isaias, 9. Sergio Cirio, 11. Bruce Djite (Miguel Palanca 61’), 16. Craig Goodwin, 17. Awer Mabil (Bruce Kamau 72’), 18. Jimmy Jeggo

Unused Substitutes: 12. Mark Ochieng, 20. Paul Izzo, 32. Nathan Konstandopoulos

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