Honours shared in Adelaide

Central Coast Mariners have scored three goals in 18 minutes to salvage an amazing 3-3 draw against Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday.

Central Coast Mariners have scored three goals in 18 minutes to salvage an amazing 3-3 draw against Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday.

The Reds were in a commanding position when Cristiano swooped on a loose ball and kicked the home side’s third goal at the 50th minute.

But the Mariners came storming home, inspired by Matt Simon and Mile Jedinak, and levelled proceedings with scores in the 66th, 75th and 84th minutes.

Jedinak booted two goals in a hurry – the first from a penalty kick and then a memorable strike from long-range.

Eugene Galekovic dived to his left and got a hand to the bullet-like attempt but couldn’t stop it crossing the goal line.

A long midfield pass then opened up a one-on-one confrontation between Simon and Galekovic.

The Reds’ keeper came off his line and Simon coolly played the ball into space and then kept the ball low to register the equaliser.

Central Coast coach Lawrie McKinna said his team was ‘pumped’ in the first half but showed great spirit to hit back after the break.

“To lose another goal five minutes into the second half, it could (then) have been four or five after that,” he said.

“But credit must go to the team for the way they played … they just competed for the ball as they always do and tried to play good hard football.”

Adelaide United coach Aurelio Vidmar said his team ‘threw away the extra two points’ after dominating the first half.

“I can’t fault the players on the first 45 minutes, I thought it was some of the best football we’ve played all year. And then we just got a little bit lazy in that last 30 minutes … it just fell apart,” he said.

The frenetic scenes late in the second half of the Round 7 Hyundai A-League encounter were in contrast to the game’s opening which featured plenty of home team highlights.

The Reds’ first goal came through a penalty kick after Cristiano was felled by Jedinak tackle just inside the box.

Travis Dodd took the shot from the spot and sent the ball into the right hand corner net as the Mariners’ goalkeeper Andrew Redmayne dived in the other direction.

Redmayne’s evening went from bad to worse when Cornthwaite got on the end of a corner kick to score United’s second goal.

The tall defender leaped in between two opponents and headed the ball to beat an out-of-sorts of keeper.

Cornthwaite’s celebrations were almost as crowd-pleasing as the goal with the 22-year-old running outside the touchline in delight with hands shaped like goggles around his eyes.

While Adelaide scored twice, and created a handful of dangerous attacking opportunities, it wasn’t all one-way traffic in the first half.

Adrian Caceres had two blistering attempts on goal and a gift from close range but was denied on each occasion by Galekovic.

Adelaide’s goalkeeper flicked two balls over the crossbar while his greatest save came at the 42-minute mark when a deflection saw the ball lob at Caceres’ feet.

The Mariner was on his own and free to pounce but Galekovic instinctively stuck his right leg out and blocked what seemed a certain counter punch.

Momentum stayed with the home side immediately after the break and they were playing with freedom once Cristiano scored their third goal.

But the Mariners surged into the contest with Simon sparking the comeback. His fleet-footed run flirting with the goal line frustrated Ang Costanzo who brought him down in a crude tackle. It earned the Mariners a penalty kick and kick-start to an amazing comeback.

Adelaide United 3 Dodd 7′, Cornthwaite 19′, Cristiano 50′
Central Coast Mariners 3 Jedinak 66′, 75′, Simon 84′
@ Hindmarsh Stadium. Crowd: 9074