Hyundai A-League - 2010/2011 - Season 6

Roar stutter on
By Andrew Demack

2010/2011 Hyundai A-League - Round 22
7:30pm, Friday 7 December 2011
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 1
(Mitch Nichols 63')
drew with
Perth Glory FC 1
(Mile Sterjovski 31')

(Linked from FFA site)

It was a stuttering performance from Brisbane at home on Friday night, as the Roar came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with Perth Glory at Suncorp Stadium.

Thomas Broich rejoined the starting line-up for the home team, but they were still missing skipper Matt McKay (Socceroos duty) and marauding right back Ivan Franjic (injury) from their best line-up.

Perth sent out a very experienced side, with six of the 11 named having passed their 30th birthday, and two of them (Fowler and Andy Todd) eligible to line-up for the Friday night over-35s comp.

A-League coaches have had the best part of a season to study the way the Roar play, and there's no doubt Ferguson had worked on a defensive shape to combat the Roar.

With the ball, the Roar use primarily short passes, 15 metres or less, and the full back, midfielder and winger work in triangles. On the right, Susak, Nichols and Barbarouses were going well, and opened up Perth four or five times in the first half. The only thing missing was the finish to go with it, with Barbarouses wasting a great chance in the 6th minute, and just failing to pick out Solorzano with a low cross in the 23rd minute.

But on the left, with Murdocca replacing McKay, and Stefanutto still seemingly a bit tentative after hamstring problems earlier in the season, the creative load was all on Broich. The Roar's left side attack relies on McKay and Stefanutto making penetrative runs to give Broich an option, whether to pass or dribble. Murdocca was playing deeper than McKay would, and with Stefanutto also sitting back too much, Broich was predictably dribbling infield for the whole first half.

The Roar were also a bit too predictable playing out of defence, and Nichols and Devere were not having their best games. Devere's passing was wayward on a couple of occasions, and Nichols had a couple of clumsy first touches in midfield.

When playing the ball out of defence, the Roar fullbacks spread wide and move up towards halfway to provide an outlet option. So if the midfielder or central defender loses the ball, the fullbacks are stranded and can't provide cover defence.

It was the 30th minute when Mitch Nichols was caught in possession by Mile Sterjovski. He found Robbie Fowler ahead of him. Fowler had the attention of both Smith and Devere, leaving plenty of space in the box for Sterjovski to set up camp at the penalty spot. Fowler found him with the return pass and Sterjosvki wrong-footed Devere and Theoklitos with the shot. The visitors had a well-deserved lead.

Brisbane as usual pressed hard in defence, and often won the ball back quickly. On the counter attack, the right side was always more successful than the left, but the equaliser wasn't found before half-time.

Brisbane had a couple of set piece opportunities, with Matt Smith powering a header goalwards just before half-time. But Tando Velaphi is a fine shot-stopper, athletic with great reflexes, and he turned the ball over the bar.

Brisbane totally dominated the first 10 minutes after half-time, and it seemed only a matter of time before the equaliser. But Perth somehow weathered the storm, and Postecoglu decided to change up the left side attack, bringing on Henrique, and pushing Broich to a more central role.

It worked. Henrique's direct, bustling style proved difficult for Neville to handle, and he got outside his man, and put his cross right onto the head of Mitch Nichols. 1-1.

Brisbane huffed and puffed, but Perth's defence was built on solid foundations. Not so much the work of Todd and Mitchell in the middle of defence, but rather the tireless effort of Jacob Burns and Todd Howarth in midfield. Patrolling the front of the defensive line, Burns in particular did almost nothing creative for the whole game, yet was the standout player for his team, with tackle after tackle.

Barbarouses and Broich ask a lot of questions of visiting defences, but on this occasion, Perth Glory had the answers that they had researched and practiced beforehand. Well done that team.

Brisbane paid the price for a below-part first half performance. Henrique and youngster Luke Brattan put in good performances off the bench. It will be interesting to see if Henrique gets a starting spot ahead of Murdocca for the game against Central Coast midweek. I suspect not, as this will ask too much defensively of Thomas Broich. But those two provided good spark off the bench.

Postecoglu post-match was not a happy coach, despite the Roar's unbeaten run now stretching to 20 games. Local fans, hungry for this side to take all the prizes on offer this season, will be happy to hear that. The team is still in good shape, and on another night here would possibly have come away with all three points, despite a below-par performance.

But they are vulnerable to the loss of key players, especially without McKay during the Asian Cup. Broich, Barbarouses and Solorzano are especially irreplaceable at this time, despite Postecoglu's protestations that it's all about the team performance, not individuals.

Perth worked very hard to snag a second successive away point. Any team with Fowler and Sterjosvki in the front-line should be dangerous. But Fowler did most of his best work well away from goal, and Sterjosvki only occasionally looked interested in the game, let alone dangerous.

2010/2011 Hyundai A-League - Round 22
7:30pm, Friday 7 December 2011
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 1
(Mitch Nichols 63')
drew with
Perth Glory FC 1
(Mile Sterjovski 31')

    Crowd: 11,574


    Brisbane Roar FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matthew SMITH, 3. Luke DeVERE, 4.Shane STEFANUTTO (c) (12. Matthew MUNDY 89), 5. 6. Erik PAARTALU (18. Luke BRATTAN 70), 7. Kosta BARBAROUSES, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA (10. HENRIQUE 59), 9. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO, 17. Mitchell NICHOLS, 22. Thomas BROICH, 23. Milan SUSAK

    Substitutes not used: 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk)

    Coach: Ange Postecoglou

    Yellow Cards: Nil
    Red Cards: Nil

    Perth Glory FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Tando VELAPHI (gk), 2. Josh MITCHELL, 3. Jamie COYNE, 4. Andy TODD, 7. Jacob BURNS (c), 9. Robbie FOWLER (22. Anthony SKORICH 79), 12. Scott NEVILLE, 14. Steven McGARRY, 16. Adrian PELLEGRINO (15. Howard FONDYKE 85), 17. Todd HOWARTH, 21. Mile STERJOVSKI (5. Jamie HARNWELL 90'+1)

    Substitutes not used: 20. Alex PEARSON (rgk)

    Coach: Ian Ferguson

    Yellow Cards: Jacob BURNS 58, Andy TODD 73
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Jarred Gillett /10
    Assistant referees: Brad Hobson, Ashley Beecham; Fourth official: Matt Gillett

    BOTN Player Points:
    3. Jacob Burns (PG)
    2. Henrique (BR)
    1. Todd Howarth (PG)

    Pitch rating: 7/10 - (soft and soggy, but it didn't cut up much)

    Game rating: 6/10 (only compared with some of the gourmet delights we have had this season at Suncorp)

    Match Report and ratings: Andrew Demack

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their compete accuracy although we do strive for that. Any photos used here, unless attributed, are as supplied by FFA and used by permission.

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