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Mariners turn season around with Reds win

NZN 5/02/2017 Emma Kemp

Central Coast have secured their first back-to-back A-League wins in nearly three years, seeing off Adelaide 2-1 to defibrillate their slender finals aspirations.

Fabio Ferreira scored against his former club in a hot and sticky Canberra on Sunday, before Kwabena Appiah netted his first A-League goal to lift the ninth-placed Mariners within five points of sixth-placed Western Sydney, whom they play next weekend.

Their first set of consecutive wins since April 2014 came despite a slow start in stifling 33-degree heat, countered with drinks breaks both sides of halftime.

And though Adelaide had the early run and earned a stoppage-time consolation via a fine finish from teenager Jordan O'Doherty, the reigning champions now lag five points adrift at the foot of the ladder.

Central Coast's first attempt on goal went unrewarded after a linesman hastily ruled Roy O'Donovan offside, despite replays proving the contrary.

They would take the lead soon enough thanks to goalkeeper Eugene Galekovic's worrying game-ending injury - a suspected muscle tear in his shoulder.

No sooner had the captain's replacement John Hall entered the fray on 30 minutes than the 22-year-old ran out into no-man's land as Trent Buhagiar sped towards goal.

Hall blocked the first effort but was too late to atone for the costly error when Connor Pain lifted a speculative ball to Ferreira, who whipped home a lovely 18-metre finish at the near post.

The Reds, desperate not to succumb to what now appears a certain wooden spoon, soon wrested control and gave their hosts several almighty scares that would have yanked them ahead but for Paul Izzo's sensational form.

The Mariners custodian made a superb save with his legs in first-half injury-time to deny Ben Garrucio.

The young gloveman stayed alert straight after the break to thwart a glancing header from A-League starting debutant Mark Ochieng.

And even after going down and dazed with a split lip when Sergio Cirio pinged a shot at his face, Izzo continued to keep his side in the game.

The miraculous recovery from an initial concussion concern prevented what would have been an A-League first in both keepers being replaced due to injury.

"I was a bit dazed for a bit and had to figure out where I was ... but I was fine," Izzo told Fox Sports afterwards.

"The win is massive ... now we need results, and hopefully we can make a late push."

Adelaide continued the hunt for an equaliser but the result was put beyond doubt with Appiah's devastating burst of speed in the 79th minute.

The 24-year-old burned two Reds with ease as he blazed down the pitch and crossed to fellow substitute Josh Bingham, before burying the ensuing deflection with a first-time finish.

Reds coach Guillermo Amor was disappointed but praised Ochieng and his teammates.

"The young players are fantastic, the team was fantastic - not the result but they worked and fought well," Amor said.

Isaias will sit out next week's match with Perth after picking up his eighth yellow card of the season.

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