Brisbane enter top six as late own goal sinks Mariners
An own goal from Lewis Miller helped Brisbane Roar scrape a 1-0 victory against Central Coast Mariners and stagger into the Hyundai A-League top six.
Brisbane full-back Corey Brown struck an 86th minute attempt which ricocheted off the legs of Central Coast defender Miller and trickled past Mark Birighitti in the Mariners goal to secure a third win in four for Robbie Fowler's side.
The Queenslanders temporarily leapfrog Adelaide United into sixth position on the ladder, with the Reds visiting Western United on Sunday evening (kick off 6.00pm AEDT).
Brisbane's narrow victory earns the club back-to-back away wins for the first time since March 2018, and extends a dominant record over the Gosford club.
Mariners last beat Brisbane in April 2014 and were vying for their first triumph in 17 attempts on Saturday but could not capitalise on opportunities that fell their way in the second half.
The most golden of these chances fell to Daniel De Silva and Tommy Oar in quick succession on the hour mark, with De Silva's looping header bouncing off the underside of the post and Oar's ensuing attempt valiantly blocked on the goal-line by Roar defender Scott Neville.
Brisbane offered very little in the second half after Mariners goalkeeper Birighitti denied in-form attacker Brad Inman in the first stanza, while Roar stalwart Jamie Young was required to pull off an exquisite leaping save to parry Jordan Murray's powerful drive.
That was until Brown, making his second appearance back in the colours of Brisbane following his exit from Melbourne Victory on January 17, popped up with a effort that took a hefty deflection off teenager Miller to boost Roar's chances of mounting a claim for Finals Football.
Mariners hold firm as Roar threaten early
Fowler handed starts to his strike force that came off the bench and finished the win 1-0 against Wellington Phoenix, and new signing Scott McDonald combined with last week’s winning goalscorer Dylan Wenzel-Halls to force Mariners keeper Mark Birighitti into a strong two-handed save inside three minutes in Gosford.
Stajcic’s side grew into the first half, chasing their first win against Brisbane in 17 attempts – the last coming in April 2014 – but Roar issued a reminder of their danger on 17 minutes and Ziggy Gordon had to be alert to throw a last-ditch block to stop Brad Inman’s close-range effort from Jay O’Shea’s well-weighted pass.
Inman finds space but Birighitti is equal to his effort
The Yellow and Navy were building pressure and, following a scramble in the Brisbane area, Jordan Murray slashed an 18-yard volley over Jamie Young’s crossbar on 23 minutes, before Roar turned it up and Brad Inman and McDonald saw good efforts saved by Birighitti as the Queenslanders responded.
Ex-Western United man McDonald lifted a long-range shot over on 40 minutes, moments before Gianni Stensness' half finished early due to an injury. As the clock ticked down, Central Coast skipper Tommy Oar found space on the left and saw his rifled strike deflect wide as the half ended goalless without the hosts logging a shot on target.
Roar survive as De Silva crashes a header off the woodwork
The second half was delicately poised as Wenzel-Halls and Inman combined in the 55th-minute to test Birighitti, before the home side finally worked Jamie Young when Oar’s low driven free-kick flew straight at the Roar goalkeeper.
As the match passed the hour mark, Roar were hanging on as Danny De Silva's header from Milan Duric's cross cannoned back off the goalpost and Scott Neville threw an improbable block to stop Oar from slamming in the rebound from five yards out.
Young to Roar's rescue as Murray breaks away
There was more end-to-end action as Central Coast defended a 71st-minute corner and launched a counter attack the length of the field which resulted in Young making a terrific fingertip save form Murray’s stinging drive on 71 minutes.
Brisbane take advantage by snatching late winner
The Queenslanders had been restricted to a single shot on goal in the second half until Scott Neville robbed sub Sam Silvera and the ball eventually found its way to Brown at the far post.
The returning Roar left-back struck a low cross that was diverted past Birighitti off the outstretched leg of Miller to break Mariners hearts and seal all three points for the visitors and extend their unbeaten stretch to five Hyundai A-League games.
Central Coast Mariners v Western Sydney Wanderers
Sunday, 2 February 2020
Central Coast Stadium
Kick off: 4.00pm AEDT
Sydney FC v Brisbane Roar
Friday, 31 January 2020
Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick off: 7.30pm AEDT