A goal from young defender Lachlan Jackson four minutes from time means Brisbane Roar will head into the Finals Series in winning form after a 2-1 victory over Newcastle Jets on Friday night.
An free-flowing contest looked headed for a draw after Jets striker Edson Montano cancelled out Kofi Danning’s opener.
But Jackson, playing just his third Hyundai A-League game, finished off a frantic goal-mouth scramble at the death to give Roar a timely boost ahead of next week’s finals.
A poor campaign for the Jets ends in defeat and also means they will finish with the club’s second-ever wooden spoon.
WHAT THEY SAID
"I'm pretty speechless right now, its a pretty good experience. The boys put in a good shift tonight, we were under the pump there a bit but it's a good win." - Roar defender Lachlan Jackson
"They were lucky enough to get the first goal. The boys did exceptionally well to get it back, we got the equaliser and probably should have pushed on with it. They got a goal at the end, a bit of a lucky bounce but that's football and they boys can be proud of how they played tonight." - Jets keeper Ben Kennedy
1-0 Danning (71’) – Jean Carlos Solorzano got free down the right and surged into the box. He skewed his shot across the face of goal but it fell perfectly into the path of Danning at the far post to tap in from close range.
1-1 Montano (77’) – Enver Alivodic sent in a cross from deep into the box, with substitute Travis Cooper rising highest to head down for Montano. The Ecuadorian made no mistake, sliding it under Jamie Young for his third goal in as many weeks.
2-1 Jackson (86’) – A crazy goal-mouth scramble saw Steven Lustica and Shannon Brady have shots blocked before the youngster hacked it home from just a couple of metres out.
Searching for inspiration, Roar boss Frans Thijssen turned to Danning midway through the second half, bringing the livewire attacker on for youngster Patrick Theodore. It proved an inspired substitution. Within three minutes and with his first touch of the ball, Danning was on hand to tap in Solorzano’s shot-come-cross. It was Danning’s fifth Hyundai A-League goal and first since way back in 2011.
OPTA DATA KEY STATS
The victory completes a clean sweep for Brisbane over Newcastle, after the Jets won all three clashes last season. It was just Roar’s second win at home in their last six matches at Suncorp. Defeat means the Jets finish the campaign with the spoon and also a goal difference of -31. It’s the worst in Hyundai A-League history.
An open, entertaining encounter would have had more goals if not for some top-class saves by both ‘keepers. Jets gloveman Ben Kennedy was particularly impressive, pulling off a couple of crackers. He made nine for the match, including his strong right hand to deny Theodore from point-blank range early on and another to tip Steven Lustica’s long-range thunderbolt onto the post. There was another after the break as well when he palmed Solorzano’s effort over the bar which was just as good. Roar’s Jamie Young didn’t want to be left out on the action though either. A powerful Andrew Hoole strike look destined for the top corner but for an acrobatic, full stretch dive by the stand-in skipper to tip it over the crossbar. They were saves that wouldn’t have looked out of place in any league in the world.
Jets goal-scorer Edson Montano limped off late on with what looked like a hamstring injury. Off-contract at the end of the season, it may have been his last appearance for the Hunter club.
THE FINAL WORD
Roar will await results for the rest of the weekend before finding out just who they will play in the opening week of the Finals Series. They will have a trip to either Wellington, Sydney or Adelaide. A tumultuous season is over for the Jets, who are now lumped with the wooden spoon in coach Phil Stubbins’ first season in charge.
Brisbane Roar: Young, Polenz, Jackson, Bowles, Lambadaridis, Sarota (Pavlou 75’), Lustica, Petratos, Brady (Yango 90’), Solorzano, Theodore (Danning 68’)
Newcastle Jets: Kennedy, Cowburn, Regan, Mullen, Lee, Pepper (T. Cooper 72’), M. Cooper (Burgess 52’), Welsh, Alivodic, Montano (Gallagher 84’), Hoole
Scorers: Danning 71’, Montano 77’, Jackson 86’
Red cards: none
Yellow cards: Lee 11’, Sarota 24’, Alivodic 40’, Hoole 90+3’
Conditions: 21C, Fine
Attendance: 8693 @ Suncorp Stadium