Adelaide United have returned to form with a hard-fought 2-1 win over Gold Coast United at Hindmarsh Stadium on Friday.

After the Reds had the better of a first-half stalemate, the match came alive in the second stanza with three goals in quick succession.

After coming in for some special physical attention from his old side, Zenon Caravella gave his new club the lead with a goal in the 57th minute, before James Brown's equaliser in the 67th minute for the visitors was swiftly countered by a superb Iain Ramsay goal barely two minutes later.

The Reds were in firm control of the contest for much of the first half but were unable to find the back of the net.

Adelaide's most clear-cut early chance came in the seventh minute when Dario Vidosic headed an intelligent Sergio van Dijk cross, only to be denied by the outstretched hand of Gold Coast keeper Glen Moss, who deflected the ball over the cross bar.

Playing his first game of the season after recovering from an ankle injury, Nigel Boogaard headed a golden opportunity wide at the far post, three minutes later.

Meanwhile Gold Coast struggled to find any real ascendancy, the visitors' physical brand seeing them commit 11 fouls and receive two yellow cards prior to half-time.

Ben Halloran was carded in the 17th minute for bringing down Cassio, who himself earned a yellow early for holding the ball up after a free had been paid to Gold Coast, and Adama Traore in the 21st for felling Zenon Caravella.

Caravella was fouled on at least four occasions by his former teammates who exerted their physicality on the Reds midfielder, but he refused to be bowed.

Cassio right-footed cross in the 34th minute found van Dijk, whose header was covered comfortably by Moss.

Moments later van Dijk, who was looking dangerous in the final third of the pitch, sustained a lower leg injury, forcing his premature substitution out of the game, the reigning A-League Golden Boot winner replaced by Andy Slory in the 35th minute.

Gold Coast worked their way into the game late in the first half and Dylan McGown almost gave his side an unlikely half-time lead when he got behind the Reds' defence, but his shot was safely gathered low by Adelaide custodian Eugene Galekovic.

The Reds continued to apply the screws early in the second half, but again they would be frustrated.

Cassio's fierce strike from long range in the 48th minute sailed fractionally to the left, while the Brazilian's chip from closer in, less than two minutes later was athletically swiped away by Moss, who was doing everything he could to keep Gold Coast on level pegging.

Moss was powerless to stop the Reds finally getting on the board in the 58th minute though when Cavarella, all alone at the far post, stretched his leg out and slid the ball into the back of the net after Ramsay had slid the ball across the face, forcing Moss out of position.

Cassio's curling free kick in the 61st minute didn't quite bend back enough for Adelaide to extend their lead, which would be tested when Dylan McAllister's shot for the visitors forced a wonderful reflex save from Galekovic.

Gold Coast would not be denied in the 67th minute when Olyroo representative James Brown's shot from the edge of the box - after a brilliant run and cross from Peter Jungschlager - deflected off Caravella and past Galekovic to make it 1-1.

The visitors' joy would be short-lived as the Reds made it 2-1 in the 69th minute when Ramsay goaled for a swift reply, the match well and truly coming alive with three goals in the space of 12 minutes.

The former Sydney FC midfielder received the pass from Slory, before wrong-footing his opponent and slotting it past Moss, who dived in vain to his left.

Ramsay's shot gave joy to Adelaide after a tough few weeks on the park and a taxing week off it.

Adelaide United 2 (Caravella 57, Ramsay 69)
Gold Coast United 1 (Brown 66)
@ Hindmarsh Stadium, 11/11/2011
Crowd: 6368.