A nine-man Central Coast Mariners extended their advantage atop the National Youth League ladder to six points following a 2-1 win against Adelaide United.
The home side had to survive the dismissals of Adriano Pellegrino after eight minutes and Hayden Morton (83 minutes) along with an improved Adelaide in the second half to register the win.
Goals in the first half to Patrick Dixon and Brad McDonald laid the platform after Pellegrino cruelled his chances of a possible return to the senior team when he was given his marching orders by referee Kevin Peddie after he allegedly spat at Adelaide's Jacob Melling.
Both Pellegrino and Melling after the encounter confirmed the incident didn’t involving spitting, however at that point in the match the Mariners were down to 10 players.
Dixon opened the Mariners account with a great finish in the 24th minute from a play which started in the home side's own half.
The advantage was doubled six minutes later after a defensive mix-up by Adelaide saw Brad McDonald round Adelaide ’keeper John Hall and slot home.
Adelaide's clear cut chances in the first stanza were few and far between, with the best of their first-half attempts a Thomas Briscoe header which ended up at the feet of team-mate Awer Mabil who couldn’t finish.
Too often Adelaide fell into the offside trap set by the Mariners or passed into vacant spaces when on the attack.
Michael Valkanis’ side improved in the second half and pulled one back when Briscoe netted in the 55th minute after Mariners shot-stopper David Bradasevic came nearly 40 metres out to clear a ball but was unable to.
Twenty year-old Bradasevic was kept busy when he stopped another Briscoe attempt in the 73rd minute and Adelaide were again unlucky not to draw level after a tremendous turn and right-foot shot from Mabil which rattled the cross bar with ten minutes to go.
The Mariners were forced defend with even more effort when Morton was sent from the park seven minutes from time after he grabbed Reds captain Liam Wooding by the waist when he was the last man in defence halting a great attacking raid..
John McClafferty’s men held on despite the South Australians continuing to pepper their penalty in the dying stages.
The Mariners move to 33 points, six clear of Melbourne Victory who play on Sunday.
Central Coast Mariners 2 (Patrick Dixon 24, Brad McDonald 30)
Adelaide United 1 (Tomas Briscoe 55)
Central Coast Mariners Youth: 1. David Bradasevic (Gk), 4. Kieren Paull, 5. Hayden Morton (c), 6. Daniel Bragg (2. Nikola Stanojevic 61’), 7. Adam Jenner, 8. Adriano Pellegrino, 12. Patrick Dixon (9. Aaron Peterson 54’), 13. Brent Griffiths, 14. Jordan Crighton (11. Louis Bozanic 57’), 15. Brad McDonald, 17. Anthony Caceres
Adelaide United Youth: 1. John Hall (Gk), 2. Shaun Harvey (13. Daniel Pritchard 57’), 4. Sasa Zekanovic (9. John Karatzas 46’), 5. Scott Nagel, 6. Jake Monaco, 7. Liam Wooding (c), 8. Thomas Briscoe, 10. Dion Kirk, 12. Jordan Elsey, 14. Awer Mabil, 15. Jacob Melling (11. Nathan Konstandopoulos 57’)