Blackwood hits stoppage-time winner to break Central Coast hearts
George Blackwood's first goal of the Hyundai A-League season proved an injury-time winner as Adelaide United came from behind to beat Central Coast Mariners 2-1 on Sunday evening.
On a night where Marco Kurz's men slowly asserted their dominance over a spirited Mariners outfit, Blackwood arrived as a second half substitute to head in Scott Galloway's cross to snatch United all three points at the death.
Earlier, Isaias had drawn the Reds level with a composed penalty box finish, a strike which cancelled out Andrew Hoole's stunning 37th minute opener.
Hoole had broken a first-half stalemate in stunning fashion, bending an unstoppable effort past Adelaide goalkeeper Paul Izzo as the Mariners aimed to collect their first away win in 18 Hyundai A-League matches.
Adelaide trailed but were the more dominant side following Hoole's wondergoal, and it took some desperate defending and several fine interventions from Mariners goalkeeper Ben Kennedy - who was playing in his 150th Hyundai A-League match - to repel the Reds' surge.
However, Blackwood was the hero who cracked Central Coast's resistance and ensures United's quest for a top-four finish remains on course.
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United thought they had taken the lead late in the first half only to be denied by a remarkable piece of desperation defending from Kye Rowles, with the Mariners defender spectacularly clearing Craig Goodwin's effort off the line.
That was the second act of last-ditch defensive heroism from the young centre back in as many weeks, and a moment which sparked an equally sensational piece of play at the other end in the form of Hoole's long-range opener.
Adelaide rallied late in the opening half but Ben Halloran could only muster a weak header from Goodwin's cross, while a barnstorming surge from Ryan Strain in stoppage time drew strong penalty claims from the Reds that were left unheeded.
Kurz swapped Vince Lia for Ken Ilso at half time, a move that enhanced Adelaide's hunt for an equaliser. It took a brave smothering stop from Mariners number one Kennedy to shut Goodwin down when he was primed to strike, and Nikola Mileusnic could not apply a finishing touch to an enterprising run.
Kennedy was eventually beaten and there was little surprise when Isaias sliced through some penalty box chaos with a composed touch and finish to bring Adelaide level.
The Mariners so nearly responded instantly after a lovely set-piece play with resulted in Matt Millar's goal-bound effort hitting teammate Jonathan Aspropotamitis.
From there, it was all hands to the deck from the Mariners, who threw bodies on the line in the final 15 minutes but could not prevent Blackwood from knocking in the winner at the near post.