Adelaide find a way to turn a bad performance into a climatic finish in the dying minutes

The Reds snagged 2 goals in 2 minutes and proved that the 2re* sequel is just as good as the original, as the Mariners laid down in Adelaide to see out Valentine’s day with a 2-0 loss.

* yes I’m referring to M. Toure as this throughout the entire article for pun purposes.

Both teams had some huge outs, with Verbeek admitting he struggled to name a fully fit 16. Blackwood returned to the side but Marrone was unavailable due to an abdominal injury (perhaps sympathy pains for his wife following the birth of their 2nd child in the last week- Congratulations!), Strain with hamstring trouble, and Kitto with quad problems. Being so light on at the back, we were promised a blind-date of a right-back… name a better occasion for experimenting. It was Mauk. Central Coast were also without some key men as both Simon and Majok didn’t make the trip following injuries picked up in the F3 derby.

If the first half was a first date, you probably would’ve faked an emergency and left. With some classic Adelaide distribution, suboptimal defending, and hesitation up front, the opening 45 can be summed up as:

  • D’Arrigo with an outside the box shot blocked in the opening minute
  • Mariners’ January-signing Chris Harold hitting the crossbar with his right-footed attempt in the 7th minute 
  • Blackwood copping a Tongyik ball to the face at close range in the 12th; not the kind of contact to the kisser he would’ve been wanting.
  • A near Elsey OG in the 14th
  • There weren’t even half-time chocolates as Mr. Fruchoc again skipped out early- some might say his schedule is…choc-kers

I guess Verbeek thought Mauk was missing the Mauk at halftime as he was replaced by Boland for the 2nd half. I was personally surprised by this sub as Boland seemed the likely replacement for Blackwood, who had appeared to succumb to the earlier ball in the face injury during the dying minutes of the first half. But Adelaide fans will be glad he remained on the pitch – this becomes important later.

This game wasn’t rockin’ and we really needed somebody to come a knockin’. The travelling away support (fantastic in numbers and noise by the way), attempted to set the mood with some music…to the tune of a bagpipe rendition of Yellow Submarine…and damn it appeared to have worked. The Mariners lifted, with Murray’s header in the 52nd getting tapped over the crossbar. Halloran was close to gifting the Coast an OG in the 75th, and only a minute later Tongyik came agonisingly close to opening the scoring.

It was increasingly looking like Adelaide would finally get the D for the first time this season. But leaving it as late as purchasing some road-side flowers for your lady on the way home from the pub, Blackwood broke the drought in the 82nd minute to score an absolute belter from outside the top of the box.

After signing a scholarship deal midweek, Mo also said no to continuing the 80-odd minutes of mediocre 4-play, with li’l 2re coming on in the 77th 2re-ain on the Mariners’ parade. The crowd cheer upon him stepping foot on the Hindmarsh turf would’ve placed as much pressure on the guy to perform than that felt by many other Australian men at about the same time of night. 

Just 7 minutes after being subbed on, 2re became the youngest A-League player in history to score at the ripe age of 15 – is that even legal? It can’t go unacknowledged that it does take 2 to bango in a goal, with Riley McGree absolutely wing-manning the scoring effort by getting through the Mariners’ defence and delivering a plump cross for 2re to ping into the back of the net.

If you forfeited your attendance at that game (or at least the final 15 minutes) for the opening night of the Fringe or for some m*nge, then sucks to be you. The win sees Adelaide take 4th position for now and hopefully providing some momentum for the next few away games, whilst the Mariners return home to face the league-leaders next week.

By Hayley Routley

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