Central Coast have breathed life into their A-League season with an upset 2-1 win against fifth-placed Adelaide United on Sunday night.
Their third win of the season couldn’t have come at a better time, lifting them from the bottom of the ladder above the Newcastle Jets and Brisbane Roar.
Previously, Adelaide had won the past eight match-ups against the Mariners, including the last six games at Central Coast Stadium.
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To the delight of the crowd of 4848 at Central Coast Stadium, the Mariners went into the sheds with a 2-0 lead after a dominant first half where they scrapped to defend.
However, a rousing half-time speech from Adelaide coach Gertjan Verbeek had immediate effect, with Ben Halloran nailing a screaming goal little more than a minute after play resumed to set up a tense final term.
The Reds returned to the field a different-looking team and the Mariners had a few lucky escapes midway through the second half as they battled to hold on for their home fans.
They had plenty to cheer about earlier when youngster Kye Rowles swept in a goal in the fourth minute, starting the match on a high note for the inexperienced side.
Milan Duric, who scored a brilliant goal from outside the box late in the first half, was given a standing ovation from fans when he was subbed off in the 69th minute.
The Mariners will play Perth at Central Coast Stadium on New Years Eve – a rematch to their round four win at HBF Park, while Adelaide will face Western Sydney Wanderers at Coopers Stadium on Friday.