After failing to capitalise on their promise in the front third, a 10-men Central Coast Mariners were narrowly edged 0-1 by Adelaide United at Central Coast Stadium.
A lonely first half goal to Isaias would ultimately decide the affair, with the Mariners unable to find the back of their net with their 10 shots throughout the match. Their two best chances fell in the first half when Jordan Murray headed straight at Paul Izzo from close range and Aiden O’Neill rattled the cross bar from the edge of the area.
Central Coast Mariners 0 Adelaide United 1 (Isaias 35’)
The run down
Both sides came out firing with attacking intent in the opening period of the game. A great chance fell to Jordan Murray who couldn’t convert his diving header from a Matt Millar cross. Adelaide boasted majority of the possession but it was the Mariners that looked more threatening. Aiden O’Neill found the crossbar and Jem Karacan's goal bound shot was cleared by the head of Michael Jakobsen.
Despite having the better chances, the Yellow and Navy were left stunned after an Isaias volley gave Adelaide the lead. The Mariners continued to search for the much deserved equaliser with Stephen Mallon causing problems for Adelaide’s Scott Galloway, but they went into the break a goal down.
The second half followed the same pattern as the first as Adelaide kept the ball and the Mariners bombed forward. Ben Kennedy stepped up to pull off a great save to deny a prime one-on-one opportunity that fell to Craig Goodwin.
For the Mariners as a whole, it was a stoic defensive effort to keep Adelaide to only a slim run of opportunities in front of goal.
The Yellow and Navy however, struggled to find the back of the net and capitalise on their chances. The Mariners’ job was made even harder when Karacan was shown a second yellow for a dangerous challenge, which reduced the home side to 10 men with 20 minutes to go.
The Mariners kept pushing in search of the equaliser and Matt Millar continued to be a threat for the Yellow and Navy after several great crosses caused problems for Adelaide.
There were two chances in the dying stages for the Mariners to bag an equaliser through an Andrew Hoole free-kick and a Connor Pain shot at goal, but the Yellow and Navy ultimately fell 1-0.
35’ ISAIAS GOAL (0-1): A clearance by Aspropotamitis found its way to Isaias at the edge of the box who volleyed into the bottom corner.
Stajcic in the media
Click here to watch Alen's full press conference
“We had four very good chances in the first half and like all football matches you have to take those chances. I was pleased we created those chances, but it was a game of very few chances, and it was decided by the one goal. There’s lots of things to be pleased about, there’s things we can keep improving and we have a good foundation now to build on. Defensively we were solid and structurally we were disciplined. Even with 10 men there was a lot of hard work and spirit. There was little bit more belief with the ball in patches in the game but if we keep improving from now with the ball, I think we are going to be very competitive.
“There was nothing I was overly frustrated with, I saw what we worked on in training and when you see that come to life in a game against a really good opponent and to nullify them to three or four chances over the whole game shows we can apply what is done in training. Hopefully that builds a little bit of resilience and belief. It was a bit hard to get forward after Jem got sent off, but we worked hard and were still a threat. It was pleasing rather than frustrating.”
“That’s football, I tend not to worry about the score line rather the process of what you’re trying to do and the things you want to implement in the match, and I thought we did that well. There was a high level of discipline and determination to stick to the game plan and the players showed a lot of character. They kept going and showed the elements of the game even with 10 men. Matty Millar was a threat right until the end and Simon gets around a lot which is pleasing.
“This isn’t hard to bounce back from, they put everything into the game, and we lost 1-0. There is a belief in the team now that our structures and patterns of play can be effective against anyone and Adelaide are as good a team as anyone in the top six. I have a lot of belief that we can keep improving and as I said be competitive against anyone.”
“I want to play against Perth, they’re the bench mark of the competition this year and were excellent last night despite losing. It’ll be a great test for the team and if we can get through a test like that than that will add more belief into the team, Stajcic said.
Central Coast Mariners: 1. Ben KENNEDY (GK), 2. Jonathan ASPROPOTAMITIS, 3. Jack CLISBY, 6. Tom HIARIEJ, 11. Connor PAIN, 13. Aiden O’NEILL (8. Michael McGLINCHEY 80’), 15. Kye RWOLES, 18. Matt MILLAR, 25. Jordan MURRAY (7. Andrew Hoole 68’), 29. Stephen MALLON (19. Matt SIMON 59’), 68. Kem KARACAN (C)
Substitutes not used: 12. Adam PEARCE (GK), 22. Jacob MELLING
Yellow cards: KARACAN 34’, 72’, ROWLES 90’
Adelaide United: 20. Paul IZZO (GK), 2. Michael MARRONE, 3. Scott GALLOWAY, 4. Ryan STRAIN (26. Ben HALLORAN 17’), 7. Ryan KITTO, 8. ISAIAS (c), 11. Craig GOODWIN (6. Vince LIA 90’), 14. George BLACKWOOD (9. Jordy THOMASSEN 74’), 22. Michael JAKOBSEN, 31. Mirko BOLAND, 33. Apostolos STAMATELOPOULOS
Substitutes not used: 1. Daniel MARGUSH (GK), 16. Nathan KONSTANDOPOULOS
Yellow cards: GOODWIN 52’
Sunday, 31 March 2019
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Central Coast Mariners vs. Adelaide United