Cornthwaite has fans guessing

Robbie Cornthwaite has a knack of keeping Reds fan’s hearts in their mouths and he was at it again in United’s ACL match day three clash against bottom-of-the-group Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

Robbie Cornthwaite has a knack of keeping Reds fan’s hearts in their mouths and he was at it again in United’s ACL match day three clash against bottom-of-the-group Sanfrecce Hiroshima.

For the second time in a United ACL stint, a Corthwaite error has been followed by a Corthwaite goal to steer the Reds back on track.

“I guess I’m just lucky I suppose,” he said.

“Obviously last year I was a similar sort of villain to hero type thing. An individual error from myself cost the team and I was lucky enough to get my head on one and stick it in the back of the net and hopefully rectify the mistake I made.”

“No-one really wants to make a mistake and certainly they are things I probably need to work out of my game because other than that one mistake, I probably had a good game.”

Cornthwaite’s poor clearance gifted Sanfrecce with the equaliser after his header sat up nicely for Kazuyuki Morisaki who smashed home a first-time left-foot drive from 20m.

The goal cost United the lead as the visitors broke back even in the 54th minute.

United’s night took a turn for the worse when Sanfrecce went ahead 2-1 thanks to a classy flicked-on header by substitute Issei Takayanagi with a quarter-of-an-hour to play.

But the Reds scored twice in four minutes to pinch the lead and the win thanks to Cornthwaite who nailed a Scott Jamieson cross with a towering header before Cassio’s deflected free kick made it 3-2.

“To be able to redeem myself with a couple of goals on both occasions when I’ve messed up has been great and I think the boys have forgiven me which is good.

The error was reminiscent of United’s away match against Kashima Antlers in the quarter-final first leg in the 2008 campaign.

The Reds were leading 1-0 thanks to a Travis Dodd goal after 37 minutes before the hosts equalised in dramatic fashion after Cornthwaite sliced his clearance into his own net from just inside the area.

“It was a greasy, wet surface, we’ll talk it up as much as we can,” laughed Cornthwaite.

“And yeah I sliced it, left peg, bottom corner. As good as Eugene is, I don-t think he had a chance.”

“And to come back the week after and score the winner is probably the most memorable moment in my career so far.”

The towering defender completed redemption and clinched a semi-final berth for the Reds scoring yet another powerful header from an inch-perfect cross by Cassio to give United a 1-0 win in the second leg.

The crowd at Hindmarsh Stadium that night was electric. The support for the club was enormous as United continued its fairy-tale run to the 2008 ACL Final.

The supporters were also treated to the centre-back’s favourite goal celebration, the infamous Spider-Man.

“I don’t know (where it came from),” he said.

“Last night I was still a bit angry that I stuffed up so when I scored I wasn’t even really that happy (laughs).”

“Defenders, you know, one little mistake can ruin the whole game. So I was lucky enough to score but wasn’t thinking about celebrations to be honest.”

‘Corny’ as he is affectionately known by his team mates enjoyed a solid pre-season with central- defender partner Iain Fyfe, before the signing of veteran Mark Rudan strengthened the United defence giving coach Aurelio Vidmar more options.

Conrthwaite was often used at right back with Rudan slotting in to the centre alongside Fyfe.

Cornthwaite’s height has proved troublesome for opponents and the big-man is also quick on his feet and good with the ball.

Rudan’s injury has seen Cornthwaite return to the centre of defence with Fyfe to form a formidable partnership in the last six weeks.

“Me and Fyfey (Fyfe) did a full pre-season together then after two games Rudes (Rudan) joined us,” he said.

“We hadn-t had a lot of opportunity to play together until the last two games of the season, obviously against Brisbane and Newcastle were the first times we were back in the middle together.”

“We’ve formed a very good understanding, we’re both confident and we’re always helping and covering each other. I think that’s the same all over the park though.”

Standing at six feet, five inches, Cornthwaite remains one of only three players from United’s inaugural squad, along with Lucas Pantelis and Travis Dodd. He has also racked up 110 appearances (including ACL) for the Reds and found the back of the net six times.