10-man Reds salvage draw against Mariners
THE poor state of the pitch was a super hot pre-game talking point but by game's end it was referee Shaun Evans that had Adelaide United more incensed than the ugly deck.
Adelaide showed tremendous character and courage in a 2-2 draw with Central Coast at Hindmarsh last night but the clash had Reds fans, players, coaches and staff raging.
George Blackwood scored a crucial equaliser in the 83rd minute after Adelaide played for 73 minutes with 10 men and chased a two-goal deficit to salvage a valuable point against the odds.
Evans made two controversial calls inside the 17 minutes which saw Adelaide give up a goal and had a man down when stopper Ersan Gulum was harshly expelled.
Andrew Hoole's opening goal looked to be aided by a handball in a duel with Isaias before he was awarded a set piece 25m from goal.
Hoole smacked the ball exactly where his men were planted next to a poorly positioned Reds wall to score when the clash was seven minutes old.
The goal stunned Adelaide but 10 minutes later Evans made a huge call which unbalanced an intriguing contest which deserved all 22 men on the park.
With Adelaide's midfield caught out of position, in transition Hoole floated a ball between Gulum and left back Ben Garuccio for Trent Buhagiar.
The ball was not in the Mariners attacker's control but there appeared to be slight contact between the two players before Buhagiar crashed to the ground.
Evans without hesitation brandished a red card which infuriated Gulum and his coach Marco Kurz before the stopper marched off the park, having words with fourth official Jonathan Barreiro after clapping his hands in front of him.
The tie turned even more sour as Ryan Strain unfortunately turned the ball into is own net from a Hoole corner in the 53rd minute enough.
Jordan Elsey then pegged a headed goal back in the 62nd minute from a Garuccio set piece to revitalise the thought of a comeback before new signing Dzengis Cavusevic made his debut off the bench for Ryan Kitto two minutes later.
Cavusevic was close to scoring a winner with his head in the 87th minute but was denied by a brilliant Ben Kennedy save.
The Slovenian striker was up for a good fight after Kurz reacted immediately to Gulum's shock expulsion more than an hour earlier.
Jordan O'Doherty was sacrificed in midfield for stopper Taylor Regan.
Adelaide readjusted to keep the visitors on the backfoot after the setbacks without testing Kennedy.
Mariners then had its 2017 player of the year Paul Izzo - Adelaide's gloveman - under all sorts of pressure in a three minute spell after he spilt what appeared to be a routine save from former Red Jacob Melling's 18m shot.
Izzo parried a super effort from Hoole in the 37th minute before turning a Blake Powel drive around the post two minutes later.
His timely saves steadied Adelaide's nerves as many players seemed to be on the brink of losing much-needed discipline.
As the players headed for halftime refreshments, it was Kurz who unloaded verbally on the match officials obviously fuming with two crucial decisions which shaped the face of the game.
Kurz was booked by Evans before the second half restarted as Adelaide mounted an assault on the Mariners in the second half.
Daniel Adlung's 72nd minute set piece from 35m was tipped over the bar by Kennedy as Adelaide pinned the visitors before George Blackwood's shot cannoned off the upright in the 74th minute
Adelaide United 2 (Jordan Elsey 62m, George Blackwood 84m) Central Coast 2 (Andrew Hoole 7, OG 53m) at Coopers Stadium. Referee: Shaun Evans. Crowd: 8282