Victory find their Roar

Melbourne has bounced back from last week's shock 4-0 loss at home to Central Coast, reclaiming top spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder with a gutsy 1-0 win over Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

Melbourne has bounced back from last week's shock 4-0 loss at home to Central Coast, reclaiming top spot on the Hyundai A-League ladder with a gutsy 1-0 win over Brisbane at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

Victory spearhead Archie Thompson snared his sixth goal for the season in the eight minute and the visitors defended gamely to hold on, with the Roar controlling possession and creating a handful of opportunities.

Thompson had a great chance in the opening minute, but the Roar then controlled the tempo until Melbourne captain Kevin Muscat's precise dead-ball cross set up the only goal of the match.

Thompson worked his way in front of Brisbane defender Andrew Packer and made the most of the space, powering his diving header past outstretched Roar keeper Griffin McMaster.

The visitors looked to sit back after establishing the lead in what was a physical match.

It proved to be a very difficult assignment.

McMaster did well to keep Nick Ward out in the 40th minute and Evan Berger had a great chance soon after half-time, but aside from those chances, the Roar did the bulk of the attacking.

The home side looked lively in the opening half, but the introduction of Tommy Oar and Henrique after half-time saw the men in orange become all the more productive.

After making a brilliant save to deny Charlie Miller soon after the break, Victory keeper Mitchell Langerak, starting ahead of regular first-choice keeper Glenn Moss for the first time this season, looked to have finally conceded in the 73rd minute.

Bundaberg-born Langerak was unable to get to the fall of an Ivan Franjic corner and Roar substitute Josh McCloughan timed his leap perfectly to nod the ball into the back of the net.

The Roar's celebrations were soon shelved when referee Ben Williams disallowed the goal, suggesting contact from Brisbane skipper Craig Moore prevented Langerak from competing in the air.

As the Victory looked to park the bus in front of goal, the Roar continued to apply the pressure and a blitzkrieg of chances resulted.

Sergio van Dijk put Henrique through with a slick ball, only for the Brazilian to shoot inches wide.

Henrique went close once more, Langerak was booked for time wasting, Matt Kemp and Mate Dugandzic also saw yellow, while Muscat was called upon to make a couple of brilliant tackles in one-on-one situations.

The Roar's hopes finally dried up when Henrique, starring his return from a knee injury, was shown a direct red card from Williams for an intentional handball in the 86th minute.

Victory coach Ernie Merrick was happy to his side defend desperately after leaking four goals in their last start.

"Mitch was outstanding, in fact all the boys were outstanding, a little bit naive towards the end giving away possession, but overall a good performance," Merrick said.

Roar counterpart Ange Postecoglou lamented his side's lapse in concentration that led to Thompson's winner.

"We tried hard enough in the second half, put some pressure on, but unfortunately for us we did the one thing we talk about not doing, and that's going to sleep during a set piece," Postecoglou.

The win, Melbourne's sixth on the road for the 2009/10 Hyundai A-League season, saw the Victory reclaim top spot on the ladder from Sydney FC, who take on Perth Glory on Sunday.

Aside from Victory coach Ernie Merrick axing Moss, Nick Ward and former Roar winger Robbie Kruse also returned to the starting side as Merrick looked to shuffle the cards.

Kruse was on the receiving end of a few testing challenges against his old club, but nothing compared to the treatment he copped last time the two sides clashed.

Brisbane Roar 0 Melbourne Victory 1 (Thompson 8')

Crowd: 9, 904 at Suncorp Stadium