Adelaide United has taken three important points from their Boxing Day clash with Central Coast Mariners at Coopers Stadium, where Ryan Kitto’s early goal was enough to give his side a 1-0 win.

10,313 fans fought their Christmas food comas under the warm Adelaide weather to watch their Reds take the points and deliver an important gift in this silly season of giving.

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It wasn’t an epic, by any means. In fact, it was a match that was the image of boxing day; slightly cheerful and slightly relaxed, and a whole bunch of people being jolly in red. The last of these was largely thanks to United’s Ryan Kitto.

Kitto gave his side a well-earned early lead, having tapped in after just 14 minutes from a Ryan Strain cross. Strain and Nikola Mileusnic had gone one-two on the right side of the pitch before the ball was expertly played in and Kitto finished the job by slotting in from close range.

The youngster was electric in the first half and could have scored two more. On 27 minutes his header from a corner was belted off the line by Josh Rose, and just before the half time break goalkeeper Ben Kennedy was forced to save a bullet-like drive.

It was Kitto’s presence that split the sides in the first half, with both teams trying to press forward and contain in numbers. Central Coast Mariners weren’t particularly bad, but they lacked the threat that Kitto provided and the Reds never looked too stressed at the back.

This trend continued into the second half, with no clear-cut chances for either side giving the game a spark of any sort. Although Andrew Hoole and Kwabena Appiah tried to lift their team, it was as though both sides were resigned to the result and soon as Kitto scored his early tap-in.

The important win gives Adelaide United enough points to take them into the top four, now sitting above arch rivals Melbourne Victory. They will take on Brisbane Roar on Saturday as they continue their push for finals football.

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Meanwhile the Mariners keep their seventh spot on the ladder and will host Wellington Phoenix on New Years Eve.

Adelaide United FC: 1
Central Coast Mariners FC: 0

Coopers Stadium (10, 313)

Referee: Peter GREEN
Assistant Referee: Matthew CREAM, Paul CETRANGOLO
Fourth Official: Daniel ELDER

Adelaide United FC:  5. REGAN, Taylor, 6. LIA, Vince (88’ Michael Marrone), 7. KITTO, Ryan, 8. ISAIAS (C), 14. BLACKWOOD, George (83’ Mark Ochieng), 17. MILEUSNIC, Nikola, 19. GARUCCIO, Benjamin, 12. IZZO, Paul (GK), 23. ELSEY, Jordan, 29.  STRAIN, Ryan, 37. ADLUNG, Daniel (75’ Nathan Kostandopoulous)

SUBSTITUTES: 1. MARGUSH, Daniel (GK), 2. MARRONE, Michael, 12. OCHIENG, Mark, 16. KONSTANDOPOULOS, Nathan, 25. STAMATELOPOULOS, Apostolos

Central Coast Mariners FC: 1. KENNEDY, Ben (GK), 2. ROUX, Storm, 3. ROSE, Joshua (70’ Kye Rowles), 5. GOLEC, Anthony, 6. HIARIEJ, Tom, 7. HOOLE, Andrew, 8. POWELL, Blake (70’ Felix Asdruval), 10. DE SILVA, Daniel, 11. PAIN, Connor, 13. APPIAH-KUBI, Kwabena (75’ Trent Buhagiar), 15. CALABUIG, Alan Baro (C)

SUBSTITUTES: 9. HERNANDEZ, Felix Asdruval Padron, 12. BUHAGIAR, Trent, 16. ROSE, Liam, 70. GLOVER, Thomas, 21. ROWLES, Kye

 

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