Adelaide United FC remains in contention for a place in the all important top six after goals from Bruce Djite and Dario Vidosic gave the Reds a valuable 2-1 win over Gold Coast United at Skilled Park.
In a match the Reds simply had to win to keep pace with the rest of the chasing pack, they were forced to come from behind when Nigel Boogaard was the recipient of a cruel own goal after a shot from Gold Coast striker Maceo Rigsters took a wicked deflection off the Reds defender in just the 7th minute.
But despite being down a goal and also having to contend with a torrential first half downpour, the Reds maintained their composure and belief as Djite and Vidosic each struck their fifth goals of the season either side of the break.
The result gave the Reds their first win in seven games, their first at Skilled Park and in turn leaves them four points out of the top six with six games remaining.
Overcoming a youthful Gold Coast outfit sitting at the bottom of the table with nothing to lose was always going to be a stern test for the Reds, Coach John Kosmina pleased to end a tricky road trip in front at the final whistle.
“I think it was great for the boys’ confidence,” Kosmina said of the win.
“It was a win we needed to get…because if we had not have got a result out of tonight’s game it probably could have been all over when you look at Melbourne (Victory) and Sydney FC winning over the weekend, it would have been a big gap to catch up.”
“It wasn’t pretty but we’ll take the three points. We’ve played better and lost and sometimes you don’t play so well and you win and you’ve just got to accept it and say ‘alright, we got a tough game out of the road’ because they’re not a bad side the Gold Coast.”
In a number of the Reds’ games over the past month, they have taken a lead only to surrender it, but this time they fought back, a sign which certainly pleased Kosmina.
“They were resilient. I think we played well, especially in the first half, and in the second half we started to control the game a bit as well and we settled down a bit which was good,” Kosmina said. “We probably over committed when they scored and that was an opportunity for the guys to drop their heads, but to their credit they kept playing and we played some really good football.”
If it was the Reds that had more reason to secure three points, someone forgot to tell the home side as exciting Gold Coast United youngster Ben Halloran scooted around Evgeniy Levchenko and teed up Rigsters, the striker’s off target shot hammering into Boogaard’s shin and into the back of the net leaving Eugene Galekovic helpless.
The Reds were taking their time to get going and a fairly sluggish start was typified when an Iain Ramsay cross found Djite unmarked inside the six yard box but he could not finish the chance, the presence of Zach Anderson at the near post enough to put the striker off.
In the 22nd minute the Reds were lucky not to be two down when Halloran was at it again down the right, this time picking out Daniel Bragg, but Galekovic managed to make a fine save low down with his legs.
Making just his second start back after injury, it took a piece of Cassio desperation down the left to get on the end of a rolling ball inches inside the byline to bring the Reds level.
A looming Sergio van Dijk attracted two defenders at the front post, Cassio’s cross heading over the top for Djite to direct his downward header into the ground and bouncing past Chris O’Connor in the Gold Coast goal.
All square at the break, Golgol Mebrahtu seemed destined to restore Gold Coast’s lead eight minutes after the restart, his lightning speed leaving him one on one with Galekovic, the Reds keeper getting enough of a left hand onto the ball to send it onto the underside of the crossbar in the greasy conditions and back into the field of play in a let off for the Reds.
Vidosic then put the Reds in front on the hour mark when his low swinging free kick snuck inside O’Connor’s near post.
The question was now whether Adelaide could hold onto their advantage as Gold Coast’s fleet footed young brigade continued to test the Reds’ defence.
Boogaard and Levchenko were required to come up with some clutch defending to allow the Reds to hold sway, substitute Fabian Barbiero missing a chance to ice the cake as he ballooned a close range effort after O’Connor misread a cross from the left hand side.
Nevertheless, the points were safe as the Reds head into another defining week with an AFC Champions League qualifier against Indonesian side Persipura Jayapura on Thursday night at Hindmarsh before hosting Sydney FC on Sunday.
Gold Coast United 1:(Boogaard 7’ (og)
Adelaide United FC 2:(Djite 42’, Vidosic 60’)
Referee: Chris Beath
Crowd:,723 @ Skilled Park
Gold Coast United line-up: 40.Chris O’Connor (gk), 3.Michael Thwaite (c), 4.Zach Anderson, 5.Kristian Rees, 7.Golgol Mebrahtu (21.Daniel Severino 69’), 14.Ben Halloran, 15.Adama Traore, 16.Maceo Rigters, 24.Jonas Salley, 28.Daniel Bowles (2.Josh Brillante 87’), 31.Daniel Bragg (17.Chris Harold 61’)
Substitutes not used: 30.Brendan White (gk)
Yellow Cards: Thwaite 20’
Red Cards: Nil
Adelaide United line-up: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk) (c), 2.Osama Malik, 3.Nigel Boogaard, 6.Cassio, 7.Zenon Caravella (18.Fabian Barbiero 67’), 8.Evgeniy Levchenko, 9.Sergio van Dijk, 10.Dario Vidosic, 11.Bruce Djite (21.Francisco Usucar 73’), 14.Cameron Watson, 17.Iain Ramsay
Substitutes not used: 15.Jacob Melling, 38.John Hall (gk)
Yellow Cards: Watson 18’, Levchenko 35’, Djite 51’
Red Cards: Nil