Brisbane Roar Review
The Brisbane Roar have had their winning pre-season form brought to an end by the Sunshine Coast Fire, as the two sides fought out an entertaining 1-1 draw in front of around 2500 spectators at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Tyson Holmes opened the scoring in spectacular fashion for the home side, netting with a free-kick just before half-time, but a second-half strike from Roar trialist Nick Fitzgerald salvaged a draw for the A-League champions.
In the fourth match contested by the sides, Brisbane clearly had the better of the opening exchanges, and much of the play was embedded in the Roar’s attacking half. James Meyer was the first to test Fire keeper Antony Hall, but Hall produced a solid save.
In a rare move forward for the Fire, Jason Hicks found space and slid a pass toward Gareth Musson, but an interception was made before Musson could move in on goal. Soon after the Fire won a free-kick that was chipped toward Greig Henslee at the far post, but the whistle sounded for a foul before Henslee could take a shot on goal.
Although the Roar were controlling possession, they were unable to get many clear sights at goal. Chris Bush had a well-struck shot cleared off the line by Fire defender Takanori Sato. Not long after, a flowing move from right to left gave Shane Stefanutto a chance on six yards, but Antony Hall spread himself well to block the shot.
After 39 minutes, the Fire won a free-kick 30 yards out from goal. Sunshine Coast captain Tyson Holmes stepped up to take the shot, and left Roar keeper Michael Theoklitos flat-footed as he found the top corner to the delight of home supporters.
On the brink of half-time, Jason Hicks almost doubled the advantage for the Fire when he moved down the left flank, before cutting inside the penalty area and shooting into the side netting.
After the break, the game continued in much the same vein as Brisbane dominated possession but lacked a spark in the attacking third. The Fire were almost two goals ahead on 50 minutes when Holmes worked down the right wing and centred the ball, but Gareth Musson couldn’t get a vital touch on the ball six yards out.
The Roar thought they had found their equaliser after an hour of play when Matt Smith’s shot was blocked on the line and cleared to safety. Soon after, the visitors finally managed to square the ledger when Thomas Broich released Nick Fitzgerald in the penalty area, with the trialist beating Antony Hall at the near post to level the scores.
With parity restored, the Roar were giving some of their trialling players a chance to shine. Plays continued to break down in the attacking third as the Fire’s disciplined defending frustrated the Roar into mistakes.
Although Gareth Musson had a call for penalty turned down on the brink of full-time, the Fire would have been pleased to come away with a 1-1 result against the A-League’s dominant force.
Fire coach Richard Hudson thought his side acquitted themselves well against the all-conquering Roar.
“We changed the shape of our side today, with an eye towards the next few weeks, and it worked really well. Obviously they were trialling some players, but I thought we coped well with them, they didn’t get in behind us too much and we managed to create a few chances. All in all, we’re really pleased. We got what we wanted out of the game, and I’m sure Ange (Postecoglou) did as well.
For the Roar, their pre-season continues on June 22 against Eastern Suburbs, as they continue to build towards their Premiership defence. Next up for the Fire will be an exhibition match against the Papua New Guinea national side, on the evening of Tuesday, June 14 at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
FINAL SCORE: Sunshine Coast Fire – 1 (Holmes, 39)
Brisbane Roar – 1 (Fitzgerald, 65)
LINEUP – FIRE: Antony Hall, James Stinson, Takanori Sato, Greig Henslee, Dylan Roberts, Jason Hicks, Tyson Holmes, Sam Knight, Mitch Broom, Ryan Smith, Gareth Musson. SUBS: Alex Henderson, Kaine Frew, Tim Hollingworth, Judd Molea, Aaron Brazendale, Kota Shibahashi, Sam Nickolls.
LINEUP – ROAR: Michael Theoklitos, Matt Smith, Shane Stefanutto, Ivan Franjic, Kosta Barbarouses, Thomas Broich, Matt Mundy, Matt McKay, Luke Brattan, Chris Bush, James Meyer. SUBS: Daniel Angelucci, Nick Fitzgerald. Daniel Bowles, Nikolas Smidtz, James Donachie, Brandon Borello, Alistair Quinn, Jack Bladen, Jason Geria, Jake McLean, Kenneth Dougall, Stefano Salandra.