In something of a surprise, Brisbane Roar now sit on top of the A-League table as they managed a 2-1 win over Central Coast Mariners at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon. Brisbane Roar were the stronger side, but the Mariners new style was looking a regular threat, while Liam Reddy did well in goal for the Mariners and kept the Mariners’ in it for much of the match.
The opening minutes were incredibly entertaining, as the match looked to be a real end-to-end affair with both sides attacking. The Mariners were looking dangerous on the counter but in the eighth minute, only Liam Reddy kept the match level.
Some good ball movement allowed Corona to get clean through on goal after the Mariners defence opened up. That allowed him to set up Thomas Broich who got a shot away heading to the left corner but was denied by a stunning save from Reddy who got across to it well.
But there wasn’t anything Liam Reddy could do for the next chance Brisbane had as the Mariners failed to really clear a ball. The ball fell to Matt McKay who was able to send the ball to Brandon Berrello who was able to volley it powerfully across Reddy who couldn’t get to it, hitting the top left hand corner.
The Mariners responded to going down a goal, stepping up the attack and they had a good chance of their own in the 20th minute. Anthony Caceres cut the ball across the top of the box for Harry Ascroft who set up Roy O’Donovan who ran in to close range but was denied by a Michael Theo save.
Just after the half hour Brisbane should have made it two after Matt McKay linked up well with Broich on the left. Broich sent in a ball that was intended for Jamie Maclaren but his effort was touched by Borello which took it away from Maclaren allowing Michael Neill to clear.
Four minutes later the Mariners could have well had an equalizer as Neill managed to send in a beautiful cross for O’Donovan. The Irishman couldn’t control the ball, which fell to Fabio Ferreira who just could not poke it home.
Reddy rescued the Mariners again in the 39th minute after an Ascroft foul gave Corona a free-kick chance. Corona took the free-kick and sent it in curling it over the wall and down to the bottom left corner but Reddy got down well and made the save to keep it 1-0 at the half.
Two minutes in to the second half, the Central Coast Mariners could well have had a penalty, and they had a strong case. Jack Hingert ran in to the back of Caceres, seemingly a clear cut penalty but Ben Williams, one of the new fully professional referees, waved away the call.
It was an impressive second half start from the Mariners and they could well have got an equalizer in the 50th minute. Mitch Austin got the time and space to cross for Jake McGing who headed the ball but just wide of goal.
But the Mariners momentum came to an end in the 57th minute as Brisbane were able to double their lead through another Borrello goal. Hingert sent a ball forward for Jamie Maclaren who drew the defence and set up Borrello for a simple finish.
With 20 minutes to play the Mariners started getting the bulk of the possession, but now trailing 2-0, it was hard to break down Brisbane. That was leaving space and in the 75th minute Brisbane had a chance as Maclaren sent in a cross but it was well cut out by McGing.
With four minutes to play the Mariners set up an exciting finish as a counter allowed McGing to send Storm Roux down the right. That saw Roux then cross it in for Fabio Ferreira who set up Josh Bingham who buried the opportunity.
But that was too little, too late, as the Mariners were not able to get enough back in to the match. That gave Brisbane the 2-1 victory and sees them move to the top of the table despite all their off season woes.