Brisbane Roar Youth Coach Josh McCloughan praised his squad after a brave 10-man Young Roar posted a courageous 5-2 win over Melbourne City in their Foxtel National Youth League game at Cleveland today.
The commanding victory came as Brisbane Roar fielded seven players making their NYL debuts.
Youngsters Daniel Driver, Joseph Champness, Lachlan Weier, Dylan Wenzel-Halls, Daniel Leck, Liam O'Bryan and Jayden Prassad looked every bit the part with Wenzel-Halls opening the scoring in the 90th minute and Prasad netting his side's fifth in time-added.
Two terrific goals from Leck (his first an absolute cracker, pictured below) and a similar breakaway effort from Dane Ingham completed the scoring for the Young Roar in 90 minutes of quality football.
McCloughan urged his team at half-time (when down to 10 men and 2-0 ahead) to keep fighting together to ensure they got something out of the match.
"I couldn't be prouder of the way the boys applied themselves," McCloughan said.
"I said to them (at half-time) that these (type of) games are the ones that even make you as a team and obviously the ones you remember the most - when you have to dig in the most together. So the boys are pretty happy with their efforts."
Also pleasing for the Roar from a club perspective was the solid 90-minute efforts from goalkeeper Michael Theo and defender Luke DeVere.
Theo used his legs to save a second-half penalty and showed strong aerial dominance, clean touches and strong direction for his defenders.
DeVere was often just too smart and too experienced for some of the City players and his free kick to set up Leck's second goal was pure class and quick thinking.
On Sunday Adelaide United beat Perth Glory 2-1 to win the Conference and earn a place in the Grand Final, but with one round to play, Brisbane will finish the season knowing they demolished the Reds and totally outplayed fellow high-flyers Melbourne City.
19': The move began with a free kick by Jesse Daley from 30m. The ball went right and was knocked into the box. City's clearance flew high and fell to Joseph Champness who pushed a pass goal-wards as he was felled just inside the box. A penalty appeal was denied which proved fortuitous as Dylan Wenzel-Halls darted on to the pass and played a clever outside of the foot shot into the goal off the far upright. 1-0
32': Dane Ingham burst through the flat City defence about 45m out. He used his speed to race away from the stranded defenders and easily rounded Melbourne keeper Jack West-Astuti and slotted into an open goal. 2-0
64': City knocked the ball into the six-yard box and for once the Young Roar defence didn't clear quickly. City players surged in and Stefan Zinni shuffled the ball across the line amid a throng of players. 2-1
87': What a goal! From a City corner, Young Roar's Jayden Prasad carried the ball out of the box and passed to Daniel Leck who was 10m inside his own half. Leck showed great smarts to slip the ball past his marker into open space and backed his pace. He dribbled away from the sluggish City defenders to the edge of the box and with the City keeper West-Astuti approaching, the Brisbane youngster scooped his shot up and over and into the net. 3-1
90+1': Leck did it again thanks to a clever free kick in midfield by Luke DeVere. The Socceroo saw the youngster had lost his marker and drifted into open space and DeVere pushed through a pass to the feet of the speedy striker who again raced away and showed great composure to beat the advancing West-Astuti again. 4-1
90+2': A deflected crossed fell perfectly for City striker Stefan Zinni and he smashed a volley from close range to Theo's left. Unstoppable shot. 4-2
90+3': Dane Ingham broke down the right again and cut back for Jayden Prasad, who side-footed into the net to make it three-goal margin which reflected the Young Roar's dominance. 5-2
While everyone should have been talking about the superb performance by the Young Roar and the entertaining four goals in the final six minutes, instead most post-match conversation was about the 28th-minute red card. While there was little doubt foul language was used when the highly respected and upstanding Joey Champness was crudely brought down in a midfield tackle, those close enough to hear what was said were very adamant the match officials got the identity of the culprit totally wrong.
Young Roar coach JOSH McCLOUGHAN: "Some of (the players brought in this week) haven't played a game in about three months. I threw them into a real fire against a team that can play with some good individuals. I am happy with the way they went."
Goalkeeper MICHAEL THEO on saving the penalty: "The youngster waited for me to go down early and I managed to get a trailing leg on it and kept it out. That was good. It was a good hit out for me personally, this game was busy being a man down and it was good for the young boys as well."
Young Roar midfielder JESSE DALEY (below), who was among his side's best: "Today was all about the team and that showed in the end, couldn't be happier, couldn't be prouder of the boys."
The Young Roar's final game of the Foxtel National Youth League season is away to Melbourne Victory Youth on Friday, 15 January (3.30pm KO Qld time) as a curtain raiser to the Hyundai A-League clash between the clubs at AAMI Park. After that the focus turns to preparing for the new PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Queensland season which starts in late February.
Foxtel National Youth League, Round 9, Brisbane Roar Youth v Melbourne City Youth, at Cleveland, Saturday, 9 January
Brisbane Roar Youth 5 (Wenzel-Halls 19', Ingham 32', Leck 87', 90+1', Prasad 90+3')
Melbourne City Youth 2 (Zinni 64', 90+2')
Half time: 2-0
Brisbane Roar Youth: 1. Michael THEO; 2. Jaiden WALKER, 4. Mark RODIC, 5. Luke DEVERE, 7. Dane INGHAM (below), 12. Joseph CHAMPNESS, 13. Mitch HORE © (11. Jayden PRASAD 77'), 14. Daniel DRIVER, 15. Jesse DALEY, 23. Lachlan WEIER (6. Liam O'BRYAN 55'), 26. Dylan WENZEL-HALLS ( 19. Daniel LECK 67').
Unused substitutes: 20. Tomislav BILIC (g/k).
Yellow cards: Jesse DALEY 24'; Red cards: Joseph CHAMPNESS 28'
Melbourne City Youth: 6. Denis GENREAU, 34. Stefan ZINNI, 35. Philip PETRESKI ©, 36. Matthew MILLAR, 37. Leo ANTHANASIOU (43. Tomislav FADLJEVIC 77'), 39. Mahmut Ali EYIGUN, 42. Jack WEST-ASTUTI, 44. Jordan HALL, 45. Andrija KECOJEVIC (38. Luke GALLO 46'), 46. Christopher CRISTALDO, 48. Steve KUZMANOVSKI (5. Austin WONG, 63').
Unused substitutes: 40. Yaren SOZER (gk).
Yellow cards: Jordan HALL 56', Philip PETRESKI 60', 38. Luke GALLO 61', Stefan ZINNI 81'; Red cards: Nil
Referee: Matthew Male; Assistant Referee 1: Cameron Fawcett; Assistant Referee 2; Zac Keenan; Fourth official: Daniel Olson