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Adelaide, Wanderers win in A-League

By AAP .
14 December 2013 09:59PM EST

ADELAIDE United hit back from a controversial week to thump Central Coast 4-0 in the A-League on Saturday night with Western Sydney also beating Newcastle 1-0.

Western Sydney halted their winless streak with a 1-0 victory over Newcastle courtesy of a Mark Bridge goal.

The Wanderers had not posted a win in three weeks, their last triumph coming in round six over Melbourne Victory.

But Bridge netted the lone goal in the 33rd minute to ensure the three points for the reigning premiers at Hunter Stadium.

The win keeps the Wanderers in second place on the ladder and within reach of top-dogs Brisbane, who remain five points ahead.

The Newcastle attack was dealt a double blow ahead of the match with last week's two-goal hero Nathan Burns and marquee man Emile Heskey both ruled out with knee complaints.

But it didn't seem to deter the Jets with skipper Ruben Zadkovich forcing a save from Wanderers' gloveman Ante Covic within the first five minutes.

Bridge returned serve for the Wanderers with a shot of his own just moments later with Jets keeper Mark Birighitti easily thwarting the effort.

Birighitti however was lucky not be sent off mid-way through the opening half after handling the ball outside the area, the offence earning only a yellow card.

The Wanderers went ahead in the 33rd minute after Shijni Ono sent a superb ball into the box with Labinot Haliti passing it to the waiting Bridge who headed home.

But the goal was soured with the Jets crying foul after Haliti clearly pushed Jacob Pepper in the box just before the goal.

Bridge looked like doubling the Wanderers' advantage with a powerful shot rocketing off the bar just before the break.

The Wanderers kept up the assault in the second half with Jerome Polenz and Ono both firing shots at goal while Haliti drew two saves from Birighitti.

Jets coach Gary van Egmond brought on Michael Bridges and Craig Goodwin for Zadkovich and Andrew Hoole with half an hour to go in an effort to bolster the attack.

And while the Jets did look more dangerous in the final stages, they couldn't find the equaliser, suffering their first loss at home this season.

Earlier, Adelaide bounced back from a controversial week to trounce reigning champions Central Coast 4-0 in an action-packed encounter at Coopers Stadium.

After witnessing under-fire coach Josep Gombau come to blows with local media for the second time in as many weeks on Friday, the Reds responded by registering only their second win in 10 matches and first since the opening round of the season.

Target man Bruce Djite opened the scoring for the hosts in the 25th minute before Fabio Ferreira doubled the advantage on 40 minutes.

Sergio Cirio, who had a hand in both goals, helped himself to one of his own in the 55th minute after an embarrassing blunder from Mariners goalkeeper Liam Reddy.

Substitute Jeronimo wrapped up the three points for United when he finished comfortably on the cusp of fulltime.

The Mariners should have taken the lead twice in the seventh minute when defender Trent Sainsbury and veteran striker Daniel McBreen botched point-blank opportunities.

A mistake at the other end allowed Adelaide to break the deadlock when Djite turned in Cirio's cross.

Ferreira eventually cashed in after tormenting the visitors' defence when he cut into the box and fired through the legs of Reddy after another clever assist from Cirio.

McBreen had a glorious chance to pull one back for Central Coast on the stroke of halftime, but the veteran scuffed his shot wide with only Reds captain Eugene Galekovic to beat.

The 36-year-old had another opening following the interval, but his header was palmed away by a quality reflex save from Galekovic.

With Galekovic pulling out the stops at one end, the same could not be said for his opposite number Reddy who was at fault for the Reds' third goal.

After misjudging a back pass into his own area, Reddy backtracked and opted to shield the ball out to safety instead of picking it up.

Cirio nipped the ball off the gloveman from behind as it teetered over the goal-line and rolled it into an empty net, despite replays suggesting the ball had gone out.

Jeronimo put the icing on the cake at the death when he broke free over half-way and tucked the ball past Reddy.

Gombau was delighted with the win, not for himself but for others associated with the club.

"I am very happy to win for the players and the fans more than anybody because they trust and support myself and the team," he said.

"We are believing in what we are doing and this is important."

Central Coast coach Phil Moss said the Mariners' first-half performance was at fault for their loss.

"The first half was are undoing and they're a lot of boys in that dressing room and staff that are hurting," he said.

"But that's a good sign because I know the fight and the culture at the Mariners is to show a reaction when we have a below par performance."

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