Raw determination from Brisbane hands Sydney's budding strike duo a setback
Brisbane Roar’s disastrous Hyundai A-League season appeared destined for new catastrophic depths in Friday night’s clash with Sydney FC.
But just as Roar appeared set for a similar tale of misfortune, the Queenslanders mustered the ultimate display of character.
Their come from behind 2-1 victory will likely stand as the 2018/19 campaign’s showpiece achievement, and reveals there is still yet life in the struggling three-time Champions.
It was a triumph that looked beyond the realm of possibility even prior to kick off. Jamie Young, Daniel Bowles and Dane Ingham were all absent for the reigning Premiers’ visit, and when Luke DeVere and Jack Hingert withdrew early on through injury the writing appeared to be on the wall.
So dire were Roar’s circumstances that their makeshift back four was headlined by the 1.71 metre frame of Matt McKay – flanked by a 16-year-old Hyundai A-League debutant – against Sydney FC’s prolific Adam Le Fondre.
However, as Darren Davies barked orders from the sideline, Brisbane showed they will not simply let a season which ranks among the worst in club history simply fade away.
And on a night of high turnarounds, the response of Roar gloveman Brendan White stood among the most impressive.
White endured a torrid second half affair in Brisbane’s 4-3 defeat to Adelaide United last Saturday, and the former Port Melbourne Sharks man must have entered this one with confidence low.
It is then to White’s immense credit that he bounced back with several fine stops, and underlined the determination, mental fortitude and sheer doggedness which underpinned a fine evening for Brisbane.
Corica faces toughest decision yet
Brisbane’s all-out defensive crisis resembled fertile ground for the partnership of Adam Le Fondre and Reza Ghoochannejhad to bloom.
But the combination which could yet fire Sydney FC to more silverware will need more than one single hit out to develop into a partnership upon which trophies may be seized.
There were promising signs of enterprise from the pair, who in one particular moment linked up excellently in the opening half for Le Fondre’s effort to be smothered by White.
However, despite Sydney FC’s ultimate control and share of chances, the Hyundai A-League’s Golden Boot leader endured an uncharacteristically quiet evening.
Sydney’s gap to leaders Perth could stand as wide as eight points come Sunday evening, and with just nine matches remaining it would require a huge ask of Le Fondre and Ghoochannejhad to overturn that deficit.
It’s a potential question that Steve Corica might have to remedy sooner rather than later – will Ghoochannejhad’s arrival stifle the output of Le Fondre or can the pair work in tandem to fire Sydney to silverware?