The Brisbane Roar have survived a scare to equal the longest-running unbeaten streak in Australian sport with a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Newcastle Jets at Ausgrid Stadium on Saturday evening.
Brisbane Roar have survived a scare to equal the longest-running unbeaten streak in Australian sport with a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Newcastle Jets at Ausgrid Stadium on Saturday evening.
The Roar seemed rattled by the Jets physicality in the midfield and strong pressing game as the hosts capitalised on constant pressure to take a 1-0 lead on the stroke of half-time courtesy of a goal to Ryan Griffiths.
But the Roar swung momentum in their favour when Henrique pounced on an error from the Jets to equalise in the 56th minute before substitute James Meyer gave Brisbane all three points following a quick corner in the 83rd minute.
The win takes Brisbane's unbeaten streak to 35, equalling the mark set by the Eastern Suburbs Rugby League team of the 1930s and sees last year's premiers extend their lead atop the Hyundai A-League ladder while the Jets remain mid-table despite a spirited performance.
The match started in sweltering conditions and the home side showed their intentions with a three-man defensive unit of Nikolai Topor-Stanley, Tarek Elrich and Byun with Labinot Haliti starting up front in the energy-sapping conditions ahead of Englishman Francis Jeffers.
However, it was the visitors who threatened early with two free-kicks in dangerous areas, with defender Mohamed Adnan heading the ball into the side netting in just the third minute.
Brisbane went close again when Henrique and Besart Berisha worked a nice play but Berisha scuffed his shot into the arms of Jets goalkeeper Ben Kennedy.
The visitors continued to put pressure on the Jets defence, working a lovely passing movement down the right that opened up an opportunity for Issey Nakajima-Farran but he pushed his shot across the face of the goal from close range.
From that point on the Jets worked their way back into the match.
Griffiths was given a golden opportunity in the 20th minute when he was put through on goal by a lovely little lob from Haliti but the shot was well smothered by Michael Theoklitos.
The Roar keeper was called into action again a few minutes later when Haliti fired from the edge of the area before Jets skipper Jobe Wheelhouse headed a dangerous Kasey Wehrman towards goal only to see Theoklitos turn the ball around the back post.
The Jets continued to press the Roar defence and a frustrated Adnan was shown a yellow card for throwing the ball away after giving away a free-kick.
Topor-Stanley headed just over the bar from a swinging Griffiths corner just four minutes before the half-time break as the home side continued to dominate a very physical midfield battle.
The Jets eventually capitalised on their pressure when Griffiths was put through on goal by a lovely ball from Wheelhouse.
This time the Newcastle striker made no mistake as he slotted a left-footed strike past Theoklitos and into the corner of the net for the home side to hold a deserved 1-0 lead at half-time.
The Jets went close to extending their lead just after the resumption when a ball into the box fell to an unmarked Jeremy Brockie at the back post but Theoklitos did well to fend off the Kiwi international's shot from point-blank range.
The Jets were dealt a huge blow just a few moments later when Kennedy was stretchered off after he was smacked in the head by Elrich's boot as both went to clear a ball into the box.
That thrust Newcastle's Youth team keeper Jack Duncan into the action in his Hyundai A-League debut.
The Jets continued to pressure the Roar and almost profited when Ivan Franjic headed the ball towards his own net only for Theoklitos to swat it away with a diving save.
Just as the Jets pressed again Ruben Zadkovich made a monumental error by sending his back pass straight to Henrique.
The Brazilian immediately went on the attack.
The ball went out to Nakajima-Farran who slid the ball back across goal where Henrique slotted in at the back post to make it 1-1 in the 56th minute.
Both sides made a number of changes just after the hour mark.
The Jets brought on Jeffers and Jacob Pepper for Haliti and Wehrman respectively while the Roar replaced Nakajima-Feran and Henrique with Luke Brattan and James Meyer.
The Roar snatched the winner in the 83rd minute when the Roar took a quick corner and found the young striker on the edge of the box and he slammed a volley into the corner of the net through a crowded penalty area for the visitors to take a 2-1 lead, which they were able to hold onto until the end of the battle.
Newcastle Jets 1 (Griffiths 44) Brisbane Roar 2 (Henrique 56, Meyer 83) Crowd: 13,174 at Ausgrid Stadium