Venue – Central Coast Stadium, Gosford, New South Wales, Australia
Date – Saturday, 25 March 2017
Time – 17:35PM (Local) (17:35PM AEDT)
Nobody wants the A-League’s wooden spoon and the result of this match could go a long way towards one of these sides avoiding it.
Who will claim the cellar-dweller battle in Gosford? As they near the end of a season they’d probably rather forget, both sides are fighting to avoid the wooden spoon.
The Mariners were tenth last season and will be desperate to prevent a repeat, while the Reds could suffer the ignominy of finishing last as defending champions, a fate not befalling any side since the Jets in 2008/09.
Adelaide are coming off just their fourth victory of the season, a 2-1 home win over Brisbane Roar with the winner coming deep into added time via the penalty spot.
Meanwhile, the Mariners will also be buoyed by restricting Premiers-in-waiting Sydney FC to a 1-0 scoreline at Allianz Stadium last Friday.
*Central Coast Mariners have won their last two games against the Reds, and have scored exactly two goals in each of their last four matches against Adelaide.
*Adelaide United have won on two of their last three trips to Central Coast Stadium, having previously failed to win there since January 2009.
* Central Coast Mariners have scored exactly two goals in five of their last six games at home; only against Melbourne Victory, who kept them scoreless, did they not score twice.
*Adelaide United haven’t won in New South Wales since Round 26, 2015/16 when they beat Sydney FC 2-0.
* Central Coast Mariners goalkeepers have been required to make 103 saves so far this season, by far the most of any team in the competition.
Roy O’Donovan has again been the shining light for the Mariners, hitting double figures for the season after contributing eight goals in his debut campaign last year (truncated by a lengthy ban).
The flamboyant Fabio Ferreira has shown flashes of his undoubted ability, while speedy youngster Trent Buhagiar continues to impress.
Goalscoring has been a glaring weakness for Adelaide United this season, hitting the net just 19 times in 23 games. Incredibly, Spanish striker Sergio Cirio only scored his first goal of the season in the win over Brisbane Roar last weekend.
The only current Reds player to have scored more than once this season is fullback Tarek Elrich, with the departed pair of Henrique and Sergio Guardiola each scoring three times before leaving the club.
Without Marcelo Carrusca (suspended) and Riley McGree (Caltex Socceroos duty), the stocks are depleted even further, although newly-arrived Senegalese striker Baba Diawara scored his first goal for the club last weekend. Reds rising star Riley McGree.
He’s been in Tehran this week and has trained for the first time with the Caltex Socceroos after his call up for two vital World Cup qualifiers.
FORM LINES – (last five games)
Central Coast Mariners:
WLDLL Adelaide United: LWLDW TEAM SHEETS –
Central Coast Mariners squad: 1.Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 2.Storm ROUX, 3.Scott GALLOWAY, 4.Jacob POSCOLIERO, 5.Harry ASCROFT, 7.Fabio FERREIRA, 8.Nick MONTGOMERY (c), 9.Roy O’DONOVAN, 11.Connor PAIN, 12.Trent BUHAGIAR, 13.Kwabena APPIAH, 14.Adam BERRY, 16.Liam ROSE, 17.Josh BINGHAM, 19.Jacques FATY, 20.Paul IZZO (gk), 21.Michael NEILL, 22.Jake McGING
**two to be omitted**
19.Jacques FATY (promoted), 20.Paul IZZO (gk) (returns from suspension), 21.Michael NEILL (promoted)
30.Adam PEARCE (gk) (omitted)
6.Blake POWELL (knee – 1 week), 10.Mickael TAVARES (ankle – indefinite), 23.Jake ADELSON (ACL – indefinite)
Adelaide United squad: 1.Eugene GALEKOVIC (c), 2.Michael MARRONE, 4.Dylan McGOWAN, 5.Taylor REGAN, 7.Jae-sung KIM, 8.ISAIAS, 9.Baba DIAWARA, 11.Sergio CIRIO, 12.Mark OCHIENG, 13.Marc MARINO, 14.George MELLS, 15.Ben WARLAND, 16.Jesse MAKAROUNAS, 17.Nikola MILEUSNIC, 19.Ben GARUCCIO, 21.Tarek ELRICH, 30.Daniel MARGUSH (gk), 92.Eli BABALJ
**two to be omitted**
8.ISAIAS (returns from injury), 13.Marc MARINO (promoted), 14.George MELLS (promoted), 15.Ben WARLAND (promoted), 16.Jesse MAKAROUNAS (promoted)
10.Marcelo CARRUSCA (suspended – 1 match), 18.Riley McGREE (international duty), 24.Jordan O’DOHERTY (ankle – indefinite)
3.Iacopo LA ROCCA (hip – 3 weeks), 22.Ryan KITTO (hamstring – assess), 23.Jordan ELSEY (knee – season)
PREDICTION – Central Coast Mariners 1 Adelaide United 1