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Feb 12, 2012

Gold Coast face A-League wooden spoon

They were once considered the A-League club born with a silver spoon in their mouth.

But after losing 2-1 to Adelaide United at a wet Skilled Park on Sunday, billionaire-backed Gold Coast United look set to end the A-League season with only a spoon of the wooden variety.

The Gold Coast side that ran out on Sunday was almost unrecognisable compared to the glamour club that first emerged under billionaire owner Clive Palmer.

Missing 11 regulars, Gold Coast coach Miron Bleiberg was forced to dig deep into his National Youth League ranks and handed Daniel Bragg a debut and Daniel Bowles a starting debut.

And they didn't let him down as a brave Gold Coast battled hard but, in the end, could not counter the class of Bruce Djite (42nd-minute goal) and Socceroos midfielder Dario Vidosic (60th).

Gold Coast face an uphill battle to avoid the dreaded spoon after suffering their 11th loss of the season.

With seven games left, Gold Coast are dead last with 15 points - eight adrift of nearest side Adelaide.

They have mustered only three points from their past eight games - and not tasted victory since Boxing Day.

It marked the first win in seven games for Adelaide United.

Bleiberg was struggling to put together a side after defender Dylan McGowan was drafted into the Olyroos squad.

It further depleted a side struck hard by injuries to the likes of leading goalscorer James Brown, key playmaker Peter Jungschlager and defender Ante Rozic.

Gold Coast opened the scoring in the seventh minute when Dutch import Maceo Rigters' strike took a deflection off Adelaide's Nigel Boogaard and thundered into the net.

But by the 42nd minute, ex-Gold Coast dangerman Djite had the equaliser for the visitors - a point-blank header off a Cassio cross.

Gold Coast kept coming and could not believe they had not taken the lead in the 53rd minute when 'keeper Eugene Galekovic's one-handed effort defied Golgol Mebrahtu's running attempt.

Adelaide United's Vidosic put behind some indifferent recent form behind him to weave his magic in the 60th minute.

Vidosic's penalty kick curled around the defensive wall and ricocheted off the near post to ensure keeper Chris O'Connor had no chance.

"Usually I am cheerful win, lose or draw. But I am holding back tears," an emotional Bleiberg said.

"This reminds me of The Rolling Stones' As Tears Go By - ' I sit and watch the children play as tears go by'.

"This is cruel. I feel sorry for the club."

But Bleiberg still saluted his young side.

"Adelaide had all the big names and we were just kids but I think we played much better," he said.

Adelaide United coach John Kosmina more encouraged by what he saw on the field rather than the scoreboard.

"When you are not getting the rub of the green it is hard to keep your head up," he said.

"I wouldn't say we have turned the corner but we toughed it out today."

Kosmina also hoped the win would provide an extra spark ahead of their Asian Champions League playoff against Indonesian club Persipura at Hindmarsh Stadium on Thursday night.

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