Courageous Roar climb back into top six
Brisbane Roar have returned to the top six with a 2-1 win on the road against Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night.
The Roar have now recorded back-to-back victories for the first time this season whilst also extending their unbeaten run against Central Coast to an equal Club record 11 matches.
Captain Matt McKay netted the crucial second goal early in the second half, his first since April 2016, and the skipper praised his side's character.
"We showed some great character. They [Central Coast] are a great team and I've really enjoyed watching them play this season. We spoke about how dangerous they can be and it was a great reaction from the boys," McKay said.
Head Coach John Aloisi shared a similar sentiment and said this performance was one that the Roar faithful can be proud of.
"I said to the players that we owe it our supporters to fight and put on a performance that they can be proud of and that's what we did tonight," Aloisi said.
"We have another nine finals coming up, we believe we can make the six and we have to keep working hard."
Both sides created early chances in an entertaining opening to the contest with the Roar withstanding an expansive style of play from the hosts.
Brisbane made one of those chances count and took the lead on 22 minutes, capitalising on a turnover deep in the Mariners defence as Brett Holman coolly finished past Ben Kennedy for his third goal of the Hyundai A-League season.
Buoyed by the opening goal, the Roar pushed hard for a second goal which eventually came through the skipper during a dominant period in the opening stages of the second period.
McKay anticipated a short pass from Kennedy, picking it off and finding himself in a one-on-one position with the Mariners keeper before calmly finishing into the bottom left corner for his first Hyundai A-League goal since April 2016.
The visitors dominated the opening stages of the second period but it was the hosts who cut the margin in half shortly after the hour-mark as Blake Powell set up a blockbuster final half-hour with a strike from an acute angle.
Brisbane carved the better chances of the final stages in search of some breathing space, with Massimo Maccarone, Avram Papadopoulos and Corey Gameiro all coming close to restoring the Roar's two-goal advantage.
The one-goal lead proved to be sufficient though as Brisbane held on for a cruical win that sees them leap from eighth place into a finals position with nine rounds to play.
STORY OF THE GAME
- Both sides were able to create chances in the opening stages but it was Brett Holman was first to make full use of an opportunity in the 22nd minute.
- The Roar started the second half full of running, doubling their lead early in the stanza before the Mariners cancelled out Matt McKay's first goal of the season in the 63rd minute.
- The Mariners were reduced to ten-men for the final minutes as Wout Brama saw red for a studs-up tackle on Corey Gameiro.
- Brisbane now return to Suncorp Stadium for a blockbuster Hyundai A-League clash next Sunday evening (6pm KO) against third-place Melbourne City. Grab your tickets HERE.
Brisbane Roar - Holman 22' - 0-1
Brett Holman is played through one-on-one with Ben Kennedy and has time to settle, pick a spot and finish calmly into the bottom corner.
Brisbane Roar - McKay 54' - 0-2
Ben Kennedy's short pass out of defence doesn't find a teammate and is picked off by skipper Matt McKay who follows up with a well-placed shot to double the Roar's lead.
Central Coast Mariners - Powell 63' - 1-2
Wout Brama opens up space in the centre of the park for the hosts and from there, Blake Powell is found inside the area before rounding Jack Hingert and firing a shot across Jamie Young and inside the right post.
Hyundai A-League Round 18: Central Coast Mariners v Brisbane Roar
Central Coast Stadium, Gosford
Saturday, 27 January
Central Coast Mariners 1 (Powell 63')
Brisbane Roar 2 (Holman 22', McKay 54')