A remarkable battling effort from Adelaide has rescued a seemingly lost tie after United came from behind to draw 2-2 against the Central Coast Mariners at Coopers Stadium last night.

Down 2-0 with 30 minutes remaining after Ersan Gulum controversially earned his marching orders in the 18th minute, strikes from Jordan Elsey and George Blackwood cancelled out an earlier Andrew Hoole free-kick and unfortunate Ryan Strain own goal.

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United had their fair share of the game with 24 shots and came agonisingly close to stealing the match late on after Blackwood found himself unopposed on the end of an Adlung cross to rifle the ball in off of the crossbar.

Dzengis Cavusevic was inches from becoming an instant hero in the dying seconds when his flicked header forced a stunning fingertip save from Kennedy as the sides settled for a point apiece.

For a match billed as worth more than three points by Marco Kurz pre-game the Reds started surprisingly poorly with the Mariners stealing an early lead in the 7th minute.

Having been pulled down by Isaias to earn a free-kick, Hoole stepped up and curled the ball through a lazy wall and past a concrete-footed Paul Izzo to open the scoring.

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The VAR cleared Hoole of what seemed a handball before he was fouled but the suspect decision had nothing on what was about to occur.

A beautiful ball from Hoole in the 18th minute found Trent Buhagiar streaming forward before contact was made between he and Gulum on the edge of the box.

The contact –  albeit seemingly marginal – was enough for Buhagiar to tumble and enough for referee Shaun Evans to blow his whistle and send Gulum off as the last man.

To put it kindly the call was poorly received from the crowd and viewers across Australia despite gaining the VAR’s almost moot seal of approval.

The visitors continued to create against 10-men with a series of saves from a rejuvenated Izzo holding the match at a salvageable one-goal deficit at the break.

Evans reared his head again before the restart, walking leisurely with his yellow card to Adelaide’s dugout to caution Kurz as the entire stadium awaited play.

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However just after Strain flicked a header millimetre wide of goal the United right-back buried a second header, but disastrously into his own net to double the Mariners lead and all but kill the match off in the 53rd minute.

But as the atmosphere began to well and truly drain from the stadium the Reds kept their noses in it to nab one back in the 61st minute.

A pinpoint cross from Ben Garrucio found the noggin of Jordan Elsey to power home the header and from there the hosts found another gear.

The goal combined with the entry of new Adelaide recruit Cavusevic sparked the 10-man side to life with Adlung forcing a dearly required fingertip save from a sensational dipping 30-yard set-piece.

Blackwood hit the post with a neat cutback and driving shot as Adelaide toiled for the unlikely equaliser, which they incredulously found in the 83rd minute to grab their fair share of the match.

 

Adelaide United 2 (Elsey 61’, Blackwood 83’)

Central Coast Mariners 2 (Hoole 7’, Strain OG 53’)

Coopers Stadium

Referee: Shaun EVANS

Assistant Referees: Matthew CREAM & Paul CETRANGOLO

Fourth Official: Jonathan BARREIRO

Adelaide United

  1. KITTO Ryan (77. CAVUSEVIC Dzengis 65’), 8. ISAIAS (C), 14. BLACKWOOD George, 17. MILEUSNIC Nikola (2. MARRONE Michael 76’), 19. GARUCCIO Benjamin, 20. IZZO Paul (gk), 22. GULUM Ersan, 23. ELSEY Jordan, 24. O’DOHERTY Jordan (5. REGAN Taylor 21’), 29. STRAIN Ryan, 37. ADLUNG Daniel

Substitutes: 1. MARGUSH Daniel (gk), 2. MARRONE Michael, 5. REGAN Taylor, 16.  KONSTANDOPOLOUS Nathan, 77. CAVUSEVIC Dzengis

Central Coast Mariners

  1. KENNEDY Ben (gk), 2. ROUX Storm, 4. MCGING Jake, 6. HIARIEJ Tom, 7. HOOLE Andrew, 8. POWELL Blake (27. SKAPETIS Petros 76’), 10. DE SILVA Daniel, 12. BUHAGIAR Trent, 15. BARO CALABUIG Alan (C), 19. POSCOLIERO Jacob (3. ROSE Joshua 68’), 22. MELLING Jacob

Substitutes: 3. ROSE Joshua, 11. PAIN Connor, 16. ROSE Liam, 18. GLOVER Thomas (gk), 27. SKAPETIS Petros

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