Perth Glory give Brisbane Roar solid test
Tenth-placed Perth Glory have made league leaders Brisbane Roar work hard for a point in their 1-1 draw at Suncorp Stadium tonight. The Glory opened the scoring just after the half-hour mark through Mile Sterjovski and they were making life difficult for the Roar but as always, the tearaway leaders of the A-League grabbed a leveler thanks to Mitch Nichols in the 63rd minute.
The draw allowed the Roar to extend their unbeaten run to 20 matches whilst the Glory moved up to ninth even though they have won just once in their last eight.
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane Crowd: approx. 6,000 Referee: Jarred Gillett Yellow cards:BR - nil PG - Jacob Burns 58', Andy Todd 72'
The Roar should have taken an early lead in the sixth minute when Kosta Barbarouses found space just outside the area before advancing in but his one-on-one with Glory keeper Tando Velaphi went wide of the mark in what was a huge let off for the visitors.
Brisbane were knocking the ball around with ease, as we have become accustomed to this season, and it was the return of Thomas Broich which had them looking a lot more dangerous than they did in the 1-0 win over Adelaide United last week.
As usual, it was just a matter of time until the Roar would score although the Glory were working their way into proceedings after a very slow start.
But Barbarouses was wreaking havoc down the other end and almost created the opener in the 23rd minute when he slipped down towards the byline and cut back across goal but there was no Roar player on the end of it.
GOAL Against the run of play, the Glory opened up the Roar defence on the break, ending in Robbie Fowler shaping to shoot before teeing up Mile Sterjovski who slotted home with help of a deflection for the opening goal.
The goal momentarily knocked the stuffing out of the Roar but they soon regained composure and finished the first half with a flurry, coming close in the 45th minute when Shane Stefanutto picked out Matt Smith from a free-kick but his header forced Velaphi into a world class reflex save just prior to the whistle to mark the break.
The Glory started the second term brightly and had a good chance in the 54th minute when Sterjovski was played in by Jamie Coyne but the veteran striker's volley from close range had no venom and in the end it was an easy save for Michael Theoklitos.
Down the other end, Broich tried his luck from a set-piece on a tight angle in the 57th minute but it flew wide of the mark. Just after that it was time for Ange Postecoglou to go to his bench and he replaced Massimo Murdocca with Henrique.
GOAL It paid immediate dividends when the speedy Brazilian burst down the left, beating off Glory defenders, before playing a lovely aerial ball into the six-yard box where Mitch Nichols timed his run to perfection to nod home under immense pressure to restore sanity.
Henrique's presence sparked the Roar as they went in search of a winner but the Glory were able to snuff out the league leaders during their little session of brilliance.
Roar defender Smith had another strong chance from a header in the 78th minute when substitute Luke Brattan sent an enticing corner into the area but Velaphi was well-positioned to clasp the ball and deny the home side.
For the final ten minutes it seemed as though the Glory were sitting back and waiting for Brisbane to score the winning goal but it didn't come as the visitors managed to record an impressive point away from home against the runaway league leaders.
BR Michael Theoklitos (gk), Matt Smith, Luke DeVere, Shane Stefanutto (Mundy 89'), Erik Paartalu (Brattan 70'), Kosta Barbarouses, Massimo Murdocca (Henrique 59'), Jean Carlos Solorzano, Mitch Nichols, Thomas Broich, Milan Susak
Subs - Andrew Redmayne (gk), Henrique (59'), Luke Brattan (70'), Matt Mundy (89')
PG Tando Velaphi (gk), Josh Mitchell, Jamie Coyne, Andy Todd, Jacob Burns, Robbie Fowler (Skorich 80'), Scott Neville, Steven McGarry, Adriano Pellegrino (Fondyke 85'), Todd Howarth, Mile Sterjovski (Harnwell 90+2')
Subs - Alex Pearson (gk), Anthony Skorich (80'), Howard Fondyke (85'), Jamie Harnwell (90+2')