Sydney FC were made to work in a tough encounter against the Brisbane Roar, emerging with a 2-1 victory at Jubilee Oval on Saturday night.
Adam Le Fondre’s brace either side of a Matt McKay equaliser was enough for the Sky Blues to put themselves joint top of the table with the Melbourne Victory and Perth Glory heading into the new year.
The Roar came into this game fresh off former head coach, John Aloisi announcing his resignation only a day prior as Darren Davies took charge for the first time. Brisbane went in with a much younger outfit with the likes of Joe Caletti, Dane Ingham, Daniel Bowles and Connor O’Toole all given a start. Meanwhile, Steve Corica was forced to field Paulo Retro as a right-back in place of Rhyan Grant, who is away on international duty with the Socceroos.
Sydney started the stronger of the two sides when Siem De Jong forced Jamie Young into a brilliant save, and Young was unable to stop Le Fondre, whose header looped over the Roar keeper to open the scoring inside the opening fifteen minutes.
It very well could have been curtains for Brisbane when Alex Brosque’s header again forced a brilliant reflex save from Young as their young defence faced enormous pressure from the flashy Sky Blues attack.
However, Brisbane were next to pounce when Eric Bautheac’s cross found Dane Ingham at the back post whose squaring ball ricocheted off Matt McKay’s chest and into the back of the net – as a result tying the scores at the interval.
This was short-lived after half-time, as Brandon O’Neill’s cross found Le Fondre again, and his scuffed shot trickled past Young and into the bottom corner to make it nine goals from ten games for the Englishman this season.
The drama didn’t finish there as Aaron Calver fouled Adam Taggart inside the area gifting the Roar a chance to equalise from the spot in the dying moments. The penalty was subject to a lengthy VAR review, but referee Alex King chose to stick with his original decision, the replay showing clear contact on Taggart’s heel.
Taggart, however, could not find the back of the net from the resulting penalty which was brilliantly saved by Andrew Redmayne to save the points for Sydney FC.
The Sky Blues will next face the winless Central Coast Mariners at home while the Roar travel to Newcastle to face the Jets on Wednesday evening.