What crisis? Red hot Reds hit Mariners 4-0

ADELAIDE United have answered their critics in emphatic style, dismantling the defending champions, Central Coast Mariners, 4-0 at Coopers Stadium tonight.

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The result breaks the Reds eight-game winless streak and eases the pressue on coach Josep Gombau who has vented his frustration in and with the media during the past week.

First half goals to Bruce Djite and Fabio Ferreira and a second-half strike from Sergio Cirio - who had ample help from a goalkeeping howler by Liam Reddy - will help ease the mounting tension at Coopers Stadium.

Jeronimo Neumann rounded off the rout on 89 minutes.

Adelaide's defensive frailty was evident from the get-go and on six minutes the Mariners came close to opening their account. A ball into the box saw Trent Sainsbury's scuffed effort fall invitingly for last season's golden boot winner, Daniel McBreen, who somehow skied his shot from point blank range. A candidate for miss of the season?

But despite looking shaky at the back, Gombau's men were eye-catching going forward and the pivotal moment came on 24 minutes when Djite pounced on a cross from the left and with a deft touch guided the ball past Reddy.

Adelaide had their tails up.

In contrast the Mariners looked out of sorts - feeling defender Storm Roux was fouled in the lead-up to the goal they racked up five yellow cards in a matter of minutes. The situation only got worse on 39' when Ferreira, released down the left, shot low and hard under Reddy to double the lead.

But the Reds were still playing a dangerous game at the back. With goal-scorer Ferreira momentarily off with an injury, Adelaide were down to 10 and the field opened up for McBreen who raced unhindered towards goal, only to skew his shot horribly off-target.

The home side left the field at half-time to a standing ovation from the diehards and an unfurled banner - "In Josep we Trust" - will have emboldened the coach and his players.

Nonetheless, the second-half was always going to be the test - with Adelaide having coughed up two-goal leads on two previous occasions this season.

So the third on 54 minutes had the home fans breathing easier. Not so Reddy. The goalkeeper thought he'd shepherded the ball out of play but Cirio pounced, and with probably the easiest goal of his career slotted into an empty net.

The Mariners had plenty of chances to restore parity but it was an off-night in front of goals for the Gosford marksmen - it was a different story for the home side. Substitute Neumann beat the offside trap and finishes neatly, into the bottom left corner.

The result leaves Adelaide in eighth but closes the gap on the mid-table teams, while the Mariners remain stay in sixth with a game in hand.

More to follow...

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