MATCH REPORT | Eight-goal NYL special in Canberra

The AIS and Brisbane Roar served up a Christmas cracker for the fans at the Institute playing fields on Sunday afternoon sharing eight goals in a remarkable 4-4 draw in Round 8 of the Foxtel National Youth League.

The AIS and Brisbane Roar served up a Christmas cracker for the fans at the Institute playing fields on Sunday afternoon sharing eight goals in a remarkable 4-4 draw in Round 8 of the Foxtel National Youth League.

The lead changed hands three times in a ding-dong battle that ended with honours even, a fair result on the balance of play with neither side deserving to lose.

A bright start to the game got the goal it deserved in the 8th minute as the AIS took the lead with a well-worked opener. Institute striker Marc Marino was instrumental in the build-up, latching onto an Alexander Gersbach through ball and sliding a square pass to Dylan Smith. Smith did the rest, taking a touch before sending a rasping drive beyond Denver Crickmore and into the net.

The lead didn-t last long however as Brisbane equalised within six minutes. Awarded a free-kick for a foul on the near side the Roar lofted a ball into the box that drew Lucas Spinella from his line. The AIS stopper was unable to get a clean punch on the ball however and Mitchell Hore arrived unmarked on the far post to volley into the empty net.

The Roar looked especially lively on the break and took the lead in the 23rd minute with a goal that owed much to the pace and precision of their passing. Turning over AIS possession in their own half Brisbane broke quickly and freed Shannon Brady in acres of space on the right flank. Brady took his time before picking out the supporting run of Samad Altundag who steered his first time shot past Spinella to put the visitors ahead.

In what was developing into a real end-to-end affair it was the AIS turn to draw level only four minutes later. The Roar attempted to play a high line but were ripped apart by a single through ball that sent Marino clear. The covering Brisbane defence was never going to catch the speedy forward who crashed his finish low into the far corner across Crickmore, for 2-2, the score-line remaining that at the break.

There was more of the same after the break as Marino extended Crickmore to his fullest just after the resumption, the Roar stopper flinging himself acrobatically to his left to palm a shot away for a corner. The respite was short-lived, as from the resultant corner, the AIS went in front again. Darcy Madden swung over a delightful left-footed cross that eluded a clutch of players and gave Marc Ochieng the simplest of tap-ins from three yards.

Having got back in front the AIS managed to slow the tempo, dictating the play with some measured possession and looking, at every opportunity, to free their wide runners to stretch the Roar defence. By contrast the visitors played mainly through the middle with skipper Benjamin Lifton becoming an ever more increasing influence as the match progressed.

And it was from one of the attacks out wide that the Institute went further ahead in the 70th minute. Marino, who was leading the Brisbane defence a merry dance, broke clear again on the right hand-side. Aiming for a runner in the middle Marino benefitted from a huge slice of fortune as his cross deflected off the chest of defender Lachlan Jackson and wrong-footed Crickmore before trundling into the net.

Incredibly the Roar weren-t done yet and hit back moments later. The AIS were caught ball watching and a simple square pass allowed Altundag, unmarked in the six-yard box, a tap-in from close range to reduce the deficit to one.

With the game entering its final quarter Brisbane sensed the chance to draw level and worked their way to parity with ten minutes to play. Roar overloaded the left-hand side and manoeuvred room for Brandon Borrello to rifle over a cross-shot that the recovering Institute defence could not prevent from crossing the line. And Borello could have won it with time running out, bursting clear of the AIS rearguard but blazing his shot over the bar with Spinella struggling to cover the angle.

There was time for one last chance for the AIS but a late free-kick came to nothing and the match ended in an absorbing draw.

STATISTICS Foxtel National Youth League Round 8

AIS 4 (Dylan Smith 8-, Marc Marino 27-, Marc Ochieng 48-, Lachlan Jackson 70- (og)) Brisbane Roar 4 1 (Mitchell Hore 13-, Samad Altundag 23-, 72-, Brandon Borrello 80-) AIS: 30. Lucas SPINELLA, 2. Darcy MADDEN (24. Bai ANTONIOU 57-), 5. Matthew SCHMIDT, 6. Matthew NTOUMENOPOULOS, 10. Dylan SMITH (16. Jordan PUDLER 61-), 11. Marc MARINO , 12. Marc OCHIENG, 18. Alexander GERSBACH, 21. George TIMOTHEOU (4. Ben WARLAND 57-), 22. Liam ROSE, 23. Rocco PIZZATTA

Brisbane Roar: 20. Denver CRICKMORE, 3. Jordan LAMPARD, 4. Lachlan JACKSON, 5. Sam CRONIN, 6. Benjamin LIFTON, 7. Shannon BRADY (15. Brandon BORRELLO 53-), 9. Samad ALTUNDAG, 10. Mitchell HORE, 11, Jai INGHAM, 12. Costa PSAROS (14. Devante CLUT 55-), 16. Patrick THEODORE

YELLOW CARDS: 5. Matthew SCHMIDT, 24. Bai ANTONIOU (AIS), 9. Samad ALTUNDAG, 16. Patrick THEODORE (Brisbane Roar)