Brisbane Roar have celebrated their 400th Hyundai A-League match with a win, beating Central Coast Mariners 1-0 at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night to extend their unbeaten home record to six matches.
Scott McDonald netted the decisive goal late in the first half, making a late opportunity count on the cusp of half-time.
Bradden Inman beat the offside trap by the finest of margins with a run in behind, before laying it off for the 36-year-old who tapped the ball in from close range for his third goal in seven days.
Head Coach Robbie Fowler applauded his side's performance as they overcame a tough challenge to win a close contest.
“As much as we need to go out there and play, the object is to try and get three points. At times it probably wasn’t pretty,” Fowler said.
“Central Coast came here and made it extremely hard. With our lads being extremely patient, a little bit of luck with the goal, when I say a little bit of luck it was well worked in terms of getting the ball out wide and getting it across. But there’s inches in it.
“I thought we edged the game. I thought we could’ve gone up a few notches if we needed to, but overall absolutely delighted. It’s better than last week because this is now, this is modern.”
The Head Coach credited his side’s persistence throughout the first-half in the attacking third.
“They made it hard for us, they had so many men behind the ball. At times, it was up against brick walls," Fowler continued.
“Sometimes that’s what football is all about - you’ve got to try and break teams down, you’ve got to try and move the ball a little bit quicker, the players need to move that little bit sharper and a little bit quicker into certain areas.
“It was a case of us playing the way we are, keep going the way we are, maybe not be too open at the back at times.
A third goal in two games for Scott McDonald proved decisive, but the experienced striker praised his teammates efforts in securing a fourth consecutive win at home.
“We’ve got to give them [the Mariners] credit for how they started the game. The way they set up compared to us, we were in-between their shape and it was causing us quite a few problems in the first half,” McDonald said post-match.
“In the last ten minutes of the first half we started to get the impetus of the game and we managed to get the goal at the right time.
“We’ve been banging on to Mirza [Muratovic] quite a bit to show for the ball, get us into the game like a centre forward does. He does it really well for the goal, if he doesn’t do that then we don’t create that opening.
“Brad [Inman] makes a fantastic run, we get in, and I do what I’ve always done from two yards.”
The Roar next head on the road to Melbourne to face Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Sunday, 22 March before returning to Suncorp Stadium to face table-toppers Sydney FC on Saturday, 28 March.
Brisbane Roar – Scott McDonald 45+3’ – 1-0
Bradden Inman is ruled onside following a VAR review, with the midfielder running in behind the Mariners defensive line before laying it off for Scott McDonald to tap in from close range.
Hyundai A-League 2019/20: Round 23 –Brisbane Roar v Central Coast Mariners
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Friday, 13 March
Brisbane Roar 1 (McDonald 45+3)
Central Coast Mariners: 0