Simon salvages point for Mariners

Striker Matt Simon salvaged a point for Central Coast with his 84th minute strike earning a 1-1 draw with Adelaide United at Bluetongue Stadium.

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Simon ensured the Mariners maintained an unbeaten start to the season under new coach Graham Arnold after Adelaide had looked to be heading for victory after a first half goal to defender Iain Fyfe.

The Mariners mounted plenty of late pressure and could have won the game against a United side which finished the game with ten men after defender Adam Hughes received two yellow cards.

The home side had cries for a penalty turned away in injury time despite what appeared to be a clear hand ball in the box by Daniel Mullen.

It looked to be a frustrating afternoon for the Mariners, who had been unable to capitalise on a stack of second half chances after going down a goal on the stroke of halftime.

But Simon found himself in open space after a Michael McGlinchey shot took a deflection and he made no mistake with a side-footed finish past Eugene Galekovic.

Hopes of a dramatic victory in front of 8,447 fans were helped when Hughes saw his second yellow for bringing down Nik Mrdja just outside the box.

But the striker put the ensuing free kick just over the bar and squandered another good chance in the dying seconds.

The Mariners looked certain to take the lead after only eight minutes, with Daniel McBreen hammering a shot into the underside of the bar after some neat work from Oliver Bozanic and Simon.

Bozanic caused the Reds plenty of problems with a series of dangerous crosses in an impressive first half display.

United slowly worked their way into the game and created a few half-chances, with Lucas Pantelis and Mathew Leckie creating most of the spark in attack.

It was Pantelis’ free kick that set up the opener into first half stoppage time after Mariners defender Patrick Zwaanswijk brought down Leckie with a reckless challenge on the right flank.

Pantelis floated a ball into the box and Fyfe lost his marker with alarming ease, allowing for a simple tap in from close range to beat Jess Vanstrattan.

Arnold made a double change midway through the second half, injecting Pedj Bojic and Rostyn Griffiths, and it was all Central Coast from there.

Midfielder John Hutchinson nearly found an equaliser in spectacular fashion, but had his volley saved in the 67th minute.

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