Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7

Brisbane kids kill off the Coast
By Adrian Demack

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 25
5:30pm, Sunday 25 March, 2012
at Robina Stadium, Gold Coast

Gold Coast United FC 1
(Daniel Bowles 29')
lost to
Brisbane Roar FC 2 (Nick Fitzgerald 58', George Lambadaridis 90')

19-year-old George Lambaridis and 20-year-old Nick Fitzgerald secured Brisbane Roar's first and probably last win at Skilled Park, as the defending champions overcame the wooden-spooners in the M1 Derby on the Gold Coast tonight.

Once the result in Wellington had ensured that Brisbane could not win the Premier's Plate, Ange Postecoglu took the gamble that has been forced on Gold Coast coach Mike Mulvey all along: he played the kids.

Rested were Brisbane first-teamers Matt Smith, Thomas Broich, Michael Theoklitos, Ivan Franjic and Mitch Nichols. Mohammed Adnan was already sidelined through injury.

In their place were some of the reserves who haven't had much opportunity during this campaign, including Matt Jurman, Andrew Redmayne, Kofi Danning, Luke Brattan, and youth team defender James Donachie, getting the nod ahead of Matt Mundy.

The Gold Coast have been a youthful side all season, but they were missing young speedster Ben Halloran, and as it also turned out, dangerman James Brown played little part in the match as well.

In the short history of Gold Coast United, they have always been a bogey team for Brisbane. Before tonight, the Roar had yet to win at Skilled Park. The memory of Shane Smeltz tearing Brisbane apart at this venue two years would still be strong for several of the Brisbane camp, including Massimo Murdocca and Shane Stefanutto.

Well Smeltz is still creating havoc, these days for Perth. And how Gold Coast could have done with a striker like him this season.

This match they started Maceo Rigters in attack with surprise striker Daniel Bowles on the right and James Brown on the left.

Brown lasted about half an hour before limping off to be replaced by one-time Roar starlet Tahj Minniecon.

Brisbane, marshalled by Paartalu and Brattan, settled into their rhythm of dominating possession, and patiently probing for an opening. Jack Hingert was lively on the right hand side, but his partner in attack Kofi Danning was having a poor night.

On the left, Stefanutto and Henrique were combining well and several times in the first half the Gold Coast were fortunate to keep them out. Henrique had one shot just saved from a narrow angle, and one low Stefanutto cross was met by Berisha but turned away for a corner.

With Brisbane playing a long way up the pitch, it was no surprise that Gold Coast were looking to hit them on the break. Their best weapon in that scenario was the willing Daniel Bowles, never the lumbering Maceo Rigters.

Bowles had the first good chance for the Coast (saved by Redmayne), and then the second in the 29th minute when he skipped past the offside trap and bore down on goal. His powerful finish flashed past Redmayne before the keeper even put a hand up.

Although it could be said that the goal was against the run of play, that doesn't mean very much. If you were to count the best chances of the first half, Bowles' goal and a curling shot from Tahj Minniecon (also on the break) would have been the top two.

Postecoglu replaced the ineffective Danning with Nicky Fitzgerald for the second half. And Fitzgerald certainly posed more goal threat. His combination passes with Stefanutto and Murdocca were creating lots of headache for the Gold Coast defence. Twice the young striker wriggled free inside the penalty box, but both times didn't pull the trigger, looking instead for Berisha or anyone else to provide the finishing touch.

But on the third occasion, in the 59th minute, Fitzgerald cut inside onto his right foot, and produced a perfect low shot across Jerrad Tyson, glancing off the inside of the post on its way to the back of the net.

At 1-1, all Gold Coast's hard work was undone. They had defended their lead valiantly, but there was still half an hour to hang on for the draw. Lambaridis came on for Paartalu, and began to look lively on the right side of attack.

Brisbane were always in the ascendancy, but slowly their drive began to ebb away, and the match seemed destined for a draw. Brattan and Hingert both went down with cramps. Brattan got the nod for the sub, being replaced by defender Matt Mundy. And that was the last sub, so Hingert was pushed forward into midfield for the last 10 minutes, where he staggered around looking spent and unsteady.

And right at the death, with the fourth official just about to wave around his board of Keno numbers, the ball fell to George Lambaridis on the edge of area. The chance was on his weaker left foot, but he had no hesitation, and struck it very sweetly into the top corner of the goal. It was a classy goal to win the game, but all three goals in this match were out of the top drawer.

Not every moment in the game was quality, but it was certainly enlivened by the touches of class that were on display.

Both Brisbane and their table-topping rivals the Central Coast Mariners have heavy schedules ahead with the finals and their Asian Champions League campaigns. Maybe a rested Smith, Broich, Nichols and co can give Brisbane a headstart into Asia with a home win against the Mariners next weekend.

Whatever happens next, it's been a great ride for Brisbane fans this season. Their team hasn't defended the Plate (well done Mariners!), but they still have a shot at the toilet seat.

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 25
5:30pm, Sunday 25 March, 2012
at Robina Stadium, Gold Coast

Gold Coast United FC 1
(Daniel Bowles 29')
lost to
Brisbane Roar FC 2 (Nick Fitzgerald 58', George Lambadaridis 90')

    Crowd: 6,102


    Gold Coast United FC :
    Player listing:
    Jerrad Tyson (gk); Michael Thwaite (c), Zac Anderson, Adama Traore, Dylan McGowan,Joshua Brillante, Jake Barker-Daish (Mitch Cooper +71), Peter Jungschlager, Maceo Rigters, James Brown (Tahj Minniecon +31'), Daniel Bowles (73' Dylan MacAllister).
    Substitutes not used: Chris O'Connor (rgk)

    Coach: Mike Mulvey

    Yellow Cards: Michael Thwaite
    Red Cards: Nil

    Brisbane Roar FC :
    Player listing:
    Andrew Redmayne (gk), Shane Stefanutto (c), Matthew Jurman, Jack Hingert, James Donachie, Erik Paartalu (George Lambaridis +61'), Massimo Murdocca, Luke Brattan (Matt Mundy +83'), Besart Berisha, Kofi Danning (46' Nick Fitzgerald), Henrique.
    Substitutes not used: Michael Theoklitos (rgk)

    Coach: Ange Postecoglou

    Yellow Cards: Nick Fitzgerald
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Peter Green 8/10
    Assistants: David Walsh, Dennis Silk; 4th Official: Jarred Gillett

    BOTN Player Points:
    3. Nick Fitzgerald (BR) made the difference
    2. Daniel Bowles (GCU) a fine goal
    1. Matt Jurman (BR) .. solid in defence

    Pitch rating: 8/10

    Game rating: 7/10

    Match Report and ratings: By Andrew Demack

Nil photos

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 implicitly supplied by FFA and used by assumed permission.

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