Brisbane Roar striker Scott McDonald hailed Jamie Young as the best goalkeeper in the Hyundai A-League after his efforts in goal earned his side a point against Wellington Phoenix on Wednesday night.
Young made eight saves in key moments throughout his side's clash with the 'Nix which ended in a 1-1 draw after McDonald's wonder-goal in the second half was cancelled out by an 82nd-minute Gary Hooper equaliser.
The Roar came into the contest intent on leaping above Wellington into third place on the Hyundai A-League table and would have done so with a win.
They were ultimately forced to settle for a point, but McDonald says they may have come away from the contest empty-handed if not for their inspirational custodian between the sticks.
"Massive - he’s been massive for us all season," McDonald told FOX Sports post-match when assessing Young's performance against the 'Nix.
"I think he’s been the best ‘keeper in the league this year.
"Some of the saves he’s pulled off for us have kept us in games - I think we owe him a lot for some of the points we have put on the board this year."
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Young's performance was highlighted by a series of memorable stops, the first of which came from a Steven Taylor header in the first half which he tipped over the bar.
Two saves in quick succession in the second half denied Reno Piscopo and Ulises Dávila goals for their respective shots on target, but the highlight of Young's night came on the stroke of half time when he leapt backward to get a glove on a lobbed attempt from Hooper which seemed a certain goal.
Speaking post-match, Young put the remarkable save down to his deep starting position which gave him an advantage in keeping the audacious attempt away from goal.
"I thought ‘if he hits it low I’m in a great position, I'm quite deep’," Young said.
"Then he hit it far post and I think because I was quite deep I was able to move, and get good spring and a great hand on it.
"I think it was really down to the positioning as to why I was able to get over and save it."
The result was bittersweet for Young and the Roar who had the opportunity to become a genuine threat for a top-two finish with three points against the third-placed Phoenix.
But despite the disappointment of going ahead and ultimately rescinding that lead, Young says the togetherness shown by the playing group to match it with the Phoenix is a genuine positive to take out of the contest.
"Towards the end of the [second] half there it showed they were pressing a lot and putting us under pressure," he said.
"I think when teams do that you have to be disciplined in defensive structure, the hard work has to happen.
"They’re a very good team and their manager has organised them incredibly well.
"There’s a lot of games [played] in that backline, a lot of experience.
"[Tom Aldred] is an animal, he leads from the front, he leads by example.
"There’s that togetherness within our team, we’re always going to compete no matter what and I think that’s what we’re trying to build at this club."
After failing to capitalise on the chance to climb into third on the Hyundai A-League table, Brisbane now turn their attention to a clash with Premiers Sydney FC on Monday, August 10 at ANZ Stadium.
It's a challenge which McDonald says he's eager for, to shake off the disappointment of drawing with the 'Nix while offering his side the chance to go up against the league's best before the Finals Series begins.
"When you go a goal up it’s always annoying not to win the game," McDonald said.
"It’s two quality teams, both teams have got good footballers who like to get on the ball and make things happen.
"Their movement at times is excellent and very difficult to deal with, but I thought we handled it pretty well with our defensive shape.
"They’re very difficult to press which we were trying to do at times, but that just shows what a good team they are, but it shows what a good team we are as well.
"We’re resolute, but unfortunately tonight we just couldn’t hang on."
McDonald continued: "These [games] are always going to be great markers for us like I said after the Victory game.
"Unfortunately we just couldn’t win the game but I think we’ve shown we can be a threat and someone to fear in the finals."
Brisbane Roar v Sydney FC
When: Monday, August 10
Where: ANZ Stadium
Kick-off: 7.30pm (AEST)
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