Young gun Ryan Strain starred as Adelaide United battled out a dogged 1-0 win over Central Coast Mariners at Coopers Stadium on Boxing Day.
Paul Izzo – 8: Continued his brilliant individual form, keeping out Blake Powell at a corner early. Soon after that, Izzo reacted well to a sneaky Andrew Hoole free kick that looked to catch him off-guard at the near post.
Ryan Strain – 8.5: Marauded down the right, linking up brilliantly with Nikola Mileusnic to create the first goal. A delightful ball saw him credited with the assist. Defensively, he dealt with Connor Pain well.
Taylor Regan – 7: Got his first chance back in Marco Kurz’s starting XI for the first time since injury thanks to Ersan Gulum’s suspension. One word sums up his performance well: uncompromising.
Jordan Elsey – 7.5: Sturdy at the back, only undone by one moment of individual quality by Kwabena Appiah that ended without a goal. Just keeps growing.
Ben Garuccio – 6.5: Saw plenty of the ball and often in advanced areas, but his delivery was not always up to it.
Vince Lia – 6: Steely as always through midfield but a knee knock will leave the veteran a little concerned.
Daniel Adlung – 6.5: Offered plenty of drive and directness through midfield. His presence adds plenty.
Isaias – 8: His intercept in midfield kick-started the play that led to Kitto’s opener. Again did the small but crucial things that go unnoticed. Tidy as ever.
Ryan Kitto – 8: Got himself in the right place at the right time, finishing off some wonderful play along the right. Could have had a hat-trick on another night.
Nikola Mileusnic – 7: Important in creating Kitto’s opportunity to open the scoring, which he took. Worked in tandem with Strain.
George Blackwood – 3.5: Not a game to write home about with chances scarce.
Nathan Konstandopoulos – N/A: Injected some fresh legs into midfield.
Mark Ochieng – N/A: Unable to add any further impact.
Michael Marrone – N/A: Introduced as an insurance sub in the final 10 minutes.
Central Coast Mariners
Ben Kennedy – 5.5: Strain’s killer ball rendered him a mere spectator, as did the finish. Pulled off some important saves to keep his side in it.
Storm Roux – 4: Partly to blame for Adelaide’s first goal having lost his man, who was the goalscorer Kitto. Allowed him to get goal-side.
Alan Baro – 5.5: Will be disappointed in his part of Kitto’s strike. Was a little flat-footed and might have done more. Solid otherwise.
Antony Golec – 5.5: Had a good hold on Blackwood.
Josh Rose – 4.5: Kept out a second Kitto goal with a header off the goal-line after 25 minutes. Difficult night otherwise as Adelaide’s right roared.
Danny De Silva – 6.5: Tasked with a slightly deeper role and ultimately, he was unable to deliver a ball that made a key difference. Still, he did a decent job in that position with a minimum of fuss.
Tom Hiariej – 6: Had to assume full leadership of midfield without Wout Brama next to him and was his usual composed self, aside from one terrible late error which he redeemed in the same play.
Andrew Hoole – 6: Busy playing centrally but was unable to do anything telling. Did try to be positive where possible.
Kwabena Appiah – 6.5: Deployed back into a natural wide role, Appiah caused issues with his speed, coming from the clouds to nip in ahead of opponents. Stung Izzo’s palms twice but will feel he could have done more with his opportunities.
Blake Powell – 4.5: Enjoyed a couple of glances but struggled to really have a sustained impact.
Connor Pain – 4: Barely touched it though did test Izzo with 15 minutes left.
Asdrubal – N/A: Held the ball well once he got on but could not deliver a moment of decisive quality.
Kye Rowles – N/A: Produced one wonderful ball that Buhagiar nodded over.
Trent Buhagiar – 3: Had two chance of note that were both missed.