Boxing Day A-League action is almost upon us with an intriguing contest between third and second on the table this evening. The home side fought through some anxious moments to eventually record a 1-0 win over North Queensland Fury on Wednesday night, pushing them ahead of Gold Coast United on goal difference and will be determined to bridge the four-point advantage that tonight's opponents hold on them.
The Reds came up short in their midweek trip to Perth, losing 4-2 to the previously bottom-placed Glory, and will be keen to make amends for that blip on their radar.
It was their second lost on the trot which indicates that they are slightly out of form and coach Rini Coolen will be sure to have done some behind-the-scenes confidence-building to get them up for this important encounter.
At their best, Adelaide would certainly be good enough to take this but I feel the Mariners defence will make life tough for the likes of Sergio van Dijk and Marcos Flores and a draw seems the more likely option.
Verdict: 1-1 draw
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Central Coast Mariners squad: 2. Daniel McBREEN, 3. Joshua ROSE, 4. Pedj BOJIC, 6. Patrick ZWAANSWIJK, 7. John HUTCHINSON, 8. Rostyn GRIFFITHS, 10. Patricio PEREZ, 11. Oliver BOZANIC, 12. Matthew LEWIS, 14. Michael McGLINCHEY, 17. Chris DOIG, 18. Alex WILKINSON (c), 19. Matt SIMON, 20. Mathew RYAN (gk), 22. Mustafa AMINI, 23. Adam KWASNIK, 30. Paul HENDERSON (gk)*two to be omitted* In: Matthew LEWIS (promoted), John HUTCHINSON (returns from injury) Out: Nil Unavailable: Brad PORTER (knee - 8 weeks), Jess VANSTRATTAN (knee - season)
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (gk), 2.Robert CORNTHWAITE, 3.Nigel BOOGAARD, 4.Iain FYFE, 6.CASSIO, 7.Lucas PANTELIS, 8.Adam HUGHES, 9.Sergio VAN DIJK, 10.Marcos FLORES, 12.Paul REID, 13.Travis DODD (c), 14.Cameron WATSON, 15.Francesco MONTEROSSO, 17.Iain RAMSAY, 18.Fabian BARBIERO, 20.Mark BIRIGHITTI (gk), 26.Joe KEENAN *two to be omitted* In: 15.Francesco MONTEROSSO (promoted) Out: Nil Unavailable: Daniel MULLEN (knee - season), Mathew LECKIE (knee - 4 weeks), Joe COSTA (knee - season)