Adelaide United FC Coach Josep Gombau was satisfied with what he saw despite the Reds going down 1-0 to the Central Coast Mariners in their pre season trial at Coopers Stadium.
In what was the Reds’ first hit out of this pre season against a Hyundai A-League opponent after having played all of its previous trial games against local clubs, the signs were encouraging as the squad continues to develop under Gombau’s guidance.
The home side had the more chances but the result came down to a 58th minute own goal from one of the Mariners’ rare threatening opportunities.
Without Marcelo Carrusca, Jeronimo Neumann, Fabio Ferreira, Bruce Djite or Cassio, the Reds more than held their own, particularly in the opening 45 minutes.
New signing Michael Zullo showed his value on the left in his first outing for the club since arriving from Holland, while livewire Awer Mabil and Spanish duo Isaias Sanchez and Sergio Cirio were also busy.
The only serious chances of note in the opening 45 minutes came when Jon McKain hit a well timed shot that brought the best out of Justin Pasfield before the Mariners keeper had less trouble keeping out a goal bound effort from Tarek Elrich eight minutes later.
It may have been a pre season game but there was no lack of feeling in the contest, Osama Malik bringing down former team mate and new Mariners signing Marcos Flores with a hefty challenge, Central Coast captain John Hutchinson then bringing down Jake Barker-Daish barely 10 seconds later as tempers threatened to boil over.
Gombau made six changes for the second half, which included former Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Heart midfielder Matt Thompson, who is currently training with the Reds.
And it was Thompson who nearly found the back of the net to bring the Reds level after the visitors went in front on 58 minutes when a darting run by Michael McGlinchey saw his attempted cut back take a cruel deflection off of Jordan Elsey and end in the back of the United net.
Thompson tried twice to find a way past Pasfield but on both occasions his radar was slightly off, Cameron Watson also coming close as his long range effort took enough of deflection to send it wide of the mark.
But while an equalising goal did not come, Gombau could not fault his charges.
“I am satisfied with the team because I think that we played a good game,” Gombau said.
“For us it was one more game in this pre season and it was also an opportunity for some players who are here on trial like local youngster Scott Nagel and Matt Thompson (who was at Melbourne Heart least season).”
“The first half was very good. I thought we had a lot of possession of the ball, we had two good chances to score, and in the second half we made a number of changes and even doing this and playing with a young team, we had most of the control of the second half.”
“The score might have finished 0-1 but for me the score wasn’t as important as making a good preparation for the season ahead.”
“Overall I am satisfied, I saw some things I wanted to see and we will keep improving to arrive for the first game of the league on October 13 in a good way.”
The Reds will head to Sydney next Saturday to tackle the Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday, September 22 in Penrith.
Adelaide United FC 0
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Elsey 58’ (og))
@ Coopers Stadium
Adelaide United starting XI: 1.Eugene Galekovic (gk), 3.Nigel Boogaard, 4.Jon McKain, 5.Osama Malik, 8.Isaias, 9.Sergio Cirio, 16.Daniel Bowles, 17.Awer Mabil, 18.Michael Zullo, 19.Jake Barker-Daish, 21.Tarek Elrich
Substitutes: 12.Antony Golec, 14.Cameron Watson, 15.Jacob Melling, 20.Paul Izzo (gk), 23.Jordan Elsey, 27.Scott Nagel, 28.Matt Thompson
Central Coast Mariners starting XI: 1.Justin Pasfield, 3.Josh Rose, 4.Marcel Seip, 7.John Hutchinson, 10.Marcos Flores, 11.Nick Fitzgerald, 14.Michael McGlinchey, 15.Storm Roux, 16.Trent Sainsbury, 17.Anthony Caceres, 19.Matt Simon
Substitutes: 5.Zac Anderson, 8.Nick Montgomery, 13.Hayden Morton, 21.Mile Sterjovski, 23.Adam Kwasnik
Image courtesy of Adam Butler