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2018/19 Australian A League, Regular Season
  • Isaías (66')
  • George Blackwood (90'+2')
  • Andrew Hoole (37')

Adelaide United beat Central Coast late as George Blackwood strikes

Adelaide United substitute George Blackwood scored a last-gasp winner in a 2-1 triumph over Central Coast in Sunday's A-League match.

Blackwood's 92nd minute header delivered Adelaide a dramatic comeback win on home turf at Coopers Stadium.

Mariner Andrew Hoole's classy first-half strike gave the visitors the lead only for Reds captain Isaias to equalise in the 62nd minute. Blackwood then nodded in the late winner as Adelaide banked a seventh victory of the season.

The result was a bitter end for Central Coast, who made the early running when Hoole curled in a long-range stunner in the 37th minute. The midfielder took possession 21 metres out and was effectively dared to shoot by Adelaide's Nathan Konstandopoulos.

Hoole launched a perfectly-timed right footer which curled into the net to beat a despairing dive from Reds goalkeeper Paul Izzo.

Adelaide were denied a chance to equalise by a VAR ruling in the 47th minute. United's Ryan Strain tore along the right flank, then angled his run into the box and blasted a cross into the danger zone with the ball striking the right arm of Mariners defender Aiden O'Neill.

Adelaide's pleas for hand-ball were refused by referee Jarred Gillet and VAR upheld the contentious call.

The Reds blew a succession of chances before Isaias' equaliser. The Adelaide captain pounced after a corner cleared a defensive pack and fell near him -- the Spaniard instinctively poked into the net from three metres.

Both sides had late half-chances before Adelaide's Scott Galloway, in added time, tore forward and crossed into the box to find a charging Blackwood, who scored from close-range.

Mariners boss Mike Mulvey bemoaned a lack of mental strength in his players. "They (Adelaide) are a good side, they have got some very good players, and we took them all the way," he said. "So that gives us an indication of how far we are coming. But we're not ready for that next level right now. We haven't got that mental toughness to see out a game."

Adelaide emerged victorious from an arduous mid-season patch of eight games in 32 days and manager Marco Kurz was impressed.

"I'm very proud of our boys, about the attitude," Kurz said. "At the end, it was very important to jump over the hurdle, and it was very important. Not every situation we played perfect but we ... believed. We have more power at the end and maybe that was one little key for the win."

Adelaide climbed to fifth spot on the ladder, ahead of Wellington on goal difference, while Central Coast remain anchored in last place.