Reds cruise to third A-League win in a row

Adelaide United have beaten Central Coast 3-1 in Gosford for their third-straight A-League win.
Adelaide United have beaten Central Coast 3-1 in Gosford for their third-straight A-League win.

Adelaide have reeled off three A-League wins in a row for the first time since their 2015-16 championship after cruising to a 3-1 victory over Central Coast.

The Mariners were seemingly on their way to an upset on Saturday when Milan Duric converted a penalty in just the fifth minute.

But the 5773 crowd in Gosford were left stunned when Nikola Mileusnic, Ben Halloran and Kristian Opseth all scored before halftime.

Mileusnic's was easily the pick of the bunch, volleying an inswinging low cross from Michael Maria into the top left corner.

The win means Gertjan Verbeek's side can finish the round in fourth spot should Sydney FC get beaten soundly on Sunday by Melbourne Victory.

"The opponent was more aggressive in the first 15-20 minutes, (and) that cost us a goal," Verbeek said.

"After that, we became better in the game and we scored three beautiful goals ... I'm satisfied with 3-1 but we could get better."

For the Mariners, coach Alen Stajcic will go back to the drawing board after his side had allowed their opposition almost double the looks on goal as them.

Stajcic was upset with a defence who leaked all three goals in 20 minutes.

"Our defending in the box was pretty poor, to be honest, during that spell," he said.

"We had numbers there, but we certainly allowed them too much time and space with the ball and some free crosses there, which was disappointing."

The home side made a bright start when Samuel Silvera latched onto a long header and drew a fifth-minute foul from Michael Marrone inside the box.

And while Adelaide gloveman Paul Izzo guessing correctly, Duric drilled his penalty with some height to the left for his third goal of the season.

Despite the early setback, the Reds slowly worked their way back into the contest before taking the lead off the back of Michael Maria's strong play.

The Dutch import was the catalyst for Halloran's leveller, dribbling into the heart of the Mariners' defence before finding his opposite winger.

Halloran executed a crisp one-two with in-form teammate Riley McGree and beat Mark Birighitti at his near post in the 26th minute.

Maria was also pivotal in the go-ahead goal soon after, creating space down the left flank and cutting back for Mileusnic to volley into the top left corner.

Halloran delivered the hammer blow moments before halftime, taking advantage of some sloppy defending to cross for an Opseth tap-in.

Opseth should've made it a double when McGree drew a foul from Giancarlo Gallifuoco in the box in the 58th minute, but his penalty was denied by Birighitti.

On a sour note for Adelaide, captain Michael Jakobsen suffered a back injury in the second half and might be in doubt for next week.

Australian Associated Press