A double from new recruit Jamie Maclaren has helped Brisbane Roar to an entertaining 3-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers in the Hyundai A-League season opener on Thursday night at Pirtek Stadium.
Maclaren pounced on a shocking error inside 10 minutes to give the Roar the lead before Mitch Nicholls restored parity less than five minutes later with a well-taken strike.
But a strike from Daniel Bowles and a second to Jamie Maclaren in the first-half proved the difference as the Roar kicked off the new era under John Aloisi in style.
0-1 (Jamie Maclaren 9’)
The Olyroo attacker netted the first goal of the new campaign with a sublime finish after a horror mistake from Wanderers defender Brendan Hamill. The 22-year-old pounced on Hamill’s hopelessly under-hit backpass before calmly dinking the ball over onrushing Wanderers keeper Andrew Redmayne from the edge of the area.
1-1 (Mitch Nicholls 13’)
The 26-year-old endeared himself to his new fans with a cool finish from a tight angle following a superb through ball from Scott Jamieson. The Wanderers playmaker sprung the Roar offside trap and burst into the area before sliding a controlled finish into the far corner past the helpless Michael Theo.
1-2 (Daniel Bowles 23’)
Roar’s Spanish recruit Corona delivered a wicked ball direct from the corner which found Bowles at the near post with the youngster’s powerful header squeezing through a crowd of players. Brandon Borrello bundled the ball home for the Roar after an attempted clearance from Wanderers defender Scott Jamieson but Bowles’ initial effort was deemed to have crossed the line.
1-3 (Jamie Maclaren 34’)
A Corona set-piece again proved fruitful for the Roar with Jamie Maclaren pouncing on a loose ball from close range after the Wanderers failed to clear the Spaniard’s corner.
Wanderers’ new marquee Federico Piovaccari showed some nice touches in the first half but he should have done better with a volley from close range with his side down 2-1 in the 25th minute. The Italian attempted a spectacular finish from six yards but miscued his effort with only Michael Theo to beat. It proved costly for Tony Popovic’s side as Maclaren pounced less than 10 minutes later to make it 3-1.
Maclaren could well prove to be one of the buys of the season after his well-taken brace against the Wanderers. The 22-year-old was lively in an dazzling performance and could have easily had a hat-trick on another night. The Olyroo striker played second fiddle to Andy Keogh at the Glory last season but will certainly be first-choice at the Roar in 2015/16.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
The Wanderers dominated the shot count (16 to 11) but failed to take their chances in front of goal with marquee man Federico Piovaccari enduring a frustrating night up top.
Wanderers defender Brendan Hamill will have nightmares about his attempted backpass to keeper Andrew Redmayne which allowed Jamie Maclaren to open the scoring inside 10 minutes. The 23-year-old did his best to recover from the error but was outpaced to the ball by Roar’s new recruit.
BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD
Tony Popovic will undoubtedly look to work on the Wanderers’ set-piece defending during the week after conceding two soft goals from corners against the Roar. Daniel Bowles was left all alone for Roar’s second goal and threatened on a number of other occasions which would be of concern to the Wanderers boss.
THE FINAL WORD
The Roar are looking to rebuild after a disappointing campaign last season and on first evidence John Aloisi’s side will be a much improved outfit in 2015/16. New recruits Jamie Maclaren and Corona were impressive on debut and with the development of youngsters Brandon Borrello and Devante Clut, there is plenty to be excited about for Roar supporters.
The new-look Wanderers showed glimpses of quality but it is clearly going to take time for Tony Popovic’s side to gel. Gun recruits Mitch Nichols and Federico Piovaccari impressed in patches and youngster Jaushua Sotirio showed he could be an x-factor with his speed and directness on the flank.