Adelaide United put on a solid display to edge ten man Gold Coast United 2-1 at Hindmarsh Stadium tonight. The Reds opened up with an early strike via Paul Reid before the visitors struck back through Dutchman Bas van den Brink who produced a stunner in injury-time of the first half.
But Adelaide captain Travis Dodd headed home early in the second term, before Gold Coast's James Brown was sent off, to send his side seven points clear of their opponents who remained in third place, notching up the Reds' sixth win in a row at home.
Venue: Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide Crowd: 12,005 Referee: Peter Green Yellow cards:AU - nil GCU - James Brown 16'/61', Bruce Djite 28', Dino Djulbic 73' Red card:GCU - James Brown 61'
GOAL Adelaide got an early reward for their positive start when Paul Reid, who was back from suspension, ran the ball through midfield before dishing off to Marcos Flores with his back to goal. The Argentine took a touch and turned Bas van den Brink inside out before playing a precision left-footed ball on the turn which was met by Reid who continued his run and buried it past Gold Coast's back-up keeper Scott Higgins with a thunderous half-volley on the move in the 10th minute.
Minutes later, former Reds striker Bruce Djite, in his first game back at Hindmarsh Stadium, found space for the visitors after a long ball over the top only to see his shot power into the near upright but it showed that Gold Coast were determined to hit back as soon as possible.
The Reds were in the mood with skipper Travis Dodd forcing a superb save from Higgins with his 18th minute shot from the edge of the area before Sergio van Dijk's 20th minute header flew inches over the bar, indicating that perhaps a second goals was on the cards for the home side.
Gold Coast had a few half-chances as the opening term progressed but overall it was the home side who looked the more dangerous of the two.
GOAL That was the case until the visitors grabbed an equalizer in injury-time of the first half, for the second time in two games, when van den Brink scored with a piledriver from outside the area. It was an encouraging build-up by the Gold Coast which ended in Zenon Caravella playing a precise ball forward to Djite who knocked it into the path of an advancing van den Brink and the Dutchman's shot laddered into the top left corner, sizzling past a desperate Eugene Galekovic despite calls from the Reds hierarchy who questioned referee Peter Green's decision to allow the time to go half a minute over what had been called.
GOAL Straight after the re-start, Adelaide retained their lead when Iain Ramsay received the ball deep on the left under fortuitous circumstances as it ricocheted off a Gold Coast defender, but he needed no written invitation to whip it into the path of his captain Dodd who nodded home from close range to make it 2-1.
Things were made all the more difficult for Gold Coast when James Brown was sent from the pitch for a second bookable offence when he chopped down Cassio in the 61st minute and it almost gave the Reds a two-goal advantage but Dodd's 64th minute shot was well-blocked by Higgins who was able to keep his side in the match.
Dodd made way for vice-captain Lucas Pantelis in the 80th minute after as fine performance which eventually got his side all three points, moving them to within a game of league leaders Brisbane Roar.
AUEugene Galekovic (gk), Robert Cornthwaite, Iain Fyfe, Cassio, Adam Hughes, Sergio van Dijk, Marcos Flores (Watson 86'), Paul Reid, Travis Dodd (Pantelis 80'), Iain Ramsay, Fabian Barbiero (Mullen 90+1')
GCU Scott Higgins (gk), Dino Djulbic, Zenon Caravella, Anderson (Fitzsimmons 64'), Jason Culina, Bruce Djite, Bas van den Brink, Kristian Rees (Robson 49'), James Brown, Adama Traore, John Curtis (Pantelidis 71')
Subs - Jerrad Tyson (gk), Robson (49'), Steve Fitzsimmons (64'), Steve Pantelidis (71')