Roar survive late scare to take all three points from gallant Victory
Brisbane Roar's top-six credentials were further enhanced as they edged past a resilient Melbourne Victory to claim a 2-1 win at Bankwest Stadium on Wednesday night.
In Corey Brown's 100th Hyundai A-League appearance for the club the Roar scored two second-half goals which gave them enough breathing room to survive a late scare when Andrew Nabbout pegged one back from the spot for Victory, as Brisbane claimed all three points in a nerve-wracking finish.
An entertaining first half saw chances aplenty for either side, but as lethal as each attack looked it was the two goalkeepers who stole the show as the first 45 minutes somehow ended goalless.
Victory's Matthew Acton and Brisbane's Jamie Young pulled off one crucial save apiece in the opening stanza, with Acton palming away a promising long-range strike from Jay O'Shea before Young's reflexes were put to the test by a Storm Roux shot in the box which the Brisbane gloveman got the slightest of touches on to send cannoning off the crossbar.
In the final five minutes of the first half Brisbane put their foot on the gas and started to craft a number of big chances to go ahead.
Scott McDonald was blocked from close range by the sliding James Donachie and Brad Inman sent a genuine chance wide of the mark before Brisbane's number 10 over-hit a pass to Dylan Wenzel-Halls alone at the back post, almost on the stroke of half time.
The Roar emerged from the sheds hell-bent on amending their inaccuracy in front of goal and it was McDonald who made the breakthrough ten minutes after the break, when he rose above Donachie and Leigh Broxham to connect with a cross from Inman and send his header past Acton to give Brisbane the lead.
Soon after the Roar doubled their advantage when substitute Matthew Ridenton emerged from the bench to get on the end of a perfectly-weighted cross from Brown to score Brisbane's second headed goal of the night and put the result seemingly beyond doubt.
But Victory refused to say die as they pushed to peg the Roar back, and with five minutes left on the clock Nabbout won his side a penalty thanks to a clumsy challenge from Tom Aldred in the box - Victory's number nine duly stepped up and converted to reduce the deficit to just one goal.
Although they never gave up in their pursuit of an equaliser time continued to tick away and eventually ran out for Victory, as Brisbane ran away with a 2-1 win to end their four-game losing streak against their opponents and further entrench themselves in the top six.
Acton leaps into action to keep O'Shea off the scoresheet
O'Shea might have thought he'd scored his first Hyundai A-League goal from open play when he opened up his body to curl a precise strike toward the top corner of goal.
McDonald set up the O'Shea chance with a neat touch and pass on the edge of the box and O'Shea struck truly, but as the ball sailed towards goal Acton leapt across with his right arm outstretched to push the ball around the post and out for a corner.
Young pokes Roux strike onto the bar to spark chaos in the box
Just minutes after Acton's terrific stop in Victory's goal it was Young's turn to pull off a similarly vital save for the Roar, as he tipped a venomous Roux strike off the crossbar.
The chance came from a dangerous cutback from Adama Traore on one flank which found his fellow Victory full-back unmarked in the box - Roux unleashed a first-time strike which cannoned off the bar thanks to Young's slender touch as it sailed over his head.
Marco Rojas nabbed the ball off O'Shea in the aftermath and got his shot away but the ball slid wide of the post and the Roar survived with their clean sheet intact.
McDonald rises highest to head Roar into the lead
Nestled amongst two Victory defenders, McDonald showed immense desire to get his head on an Inman cross from wide to send his header past Acton into Victory's goal and open the scoring just before the hour mark.
Inman's cross off the outside of his boot found McDonald between Donachie and Broxham; the 36-year-old's header deflected off Broxham as it travelled toward goal, Acton did his best to keep the chance out but could only push the ball over the line as Brisbane took the lead.
Ridenton finishes team move to put Roar two goals to the good
Emerging off the bench and into the thick of the action, Ridenton played a key part in both creating and finishing off Brisbane's second goal of the night.
Laying the ball into Inman's feet on the edge of the box, Ridenton streamed forward as Inman sent the ball wide to Brown - the Roar full-back then whipped a cross over leaping Victory defender Aaron Anderson to find the head of Ridenton, who glanced an unmarked header into the back of the net.
Nabbout makes it interesting with late penalty
Brisbane looked to be cruising, but with five minutes left of regular time a clumsy challenge from Aldred in the box on Nabbout handed Victory an easy way back into the contest.
Nabbout still had it all to do from the spot but came up with a composed strike which sent Young the wrong way to land in the bottom left corner and bring the score back to 2-1 in Brisbane's favour.
- Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners
When: Monday, 3 August
Where: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick-off: 7.30pm (AEST)
- Wellington Phoenix v Brisbane Roar
When: Wednesday, 5 August
Where: Bankwest Stadium
Kick-off: 4.00pm (AEST)