Brisbane are back on the winners' list after they defeated Newcastle 1-0 in a fiery encounter which produced two red cards and a converted penalty from Besart Berisha.
|By DANIEL COLASIMONE
Brisbane Roar overcame previous poor form and a terrible home record against the Newcastle Jets to notch a 1-0 victory at Suncorp Stadium in the A-League on Saturday night.
The match sparked into life just before half-time, with Besart Berisha converting a penalty shortly before Josh Mitchell and Thomas Broich were sent off in a controversial incident.
Newcastle's Mitchell gave away the penalty and conceded a yellow card after 40 minutes, before getting involved in a flare up with the Roar's Broich just before the break, which resulted in both players being dismissed.
Brisbane had been forced to shuffle their defence coming into the match, with Ivan Franjic and captain Matt Smith both on Socceroos duty, while the Jets were missing back-up forward Adam Taggart, also called up for the East Asian Cup qualifying tournament.
Two-time National Youth League player of the year James Donachie was brought in to partner Matthew Jurman in the new-look Roar defence.
Newcastle went on the attack early, and after just two minutes a delightfully lofted Ryan Griffiths free-kick from wide on the right found Emile Heskey free at the back post, but the former England international couldn't hit the target.
Two minutes later, Heskey was again set up by Griffiths, who had slipped into space down the right, but again he failed to convert the chance.
It took several minutes for Brisbane to begin to enjoy more possession, but as Broich warmed to the role of attacking focal point, the whole forward unit started to look more impressive.
On 13 minutes, Jets playmaker Bernardo Ribeiro split the Roar defence with a well-weighted pass to give James Brown the time he needed to shoot, and the forward cracked a hard, low shot from the edge of the area.
Roar keeper Michael Theo was up to the task, however, and parried the dangerous attempt wide.
The hot, humid conditions seemed to be taking their toll on the Jets, who were pushed ever further back into their own half, with Broich and Henrique probing effectively as the Roar dominated possession.
After 26 minutes the first serious cracks appeared in the Newcastle defence, as Henrique danced down the left before cutting back for Erik Paartalu, whose shot flashed wide.
As the Roar's confidence grew, so did the pressure on Newcastle, who spent long periods pinned back and chasing shadows. Broich especially was at his masterful best, dictating proceedings with his sharp, intelligent passing.
Five minutes before half-time, Brisbane's sustained possession finally paid dividends, as Broich fed Jack Hingert in the box. Hingert cut inside and Mitchell brought him down with a stray right leg for a clear penalty.
Roar marksman Berisha made no mistake from the spot, finishing calmly low and left past Jets 'keeper Matthew Nash.
What had been a match played in the right spirit flared up just before the break, as Broich body checked Mitchell after a pass out of defence.
The Newcastle defender charged at the German in response, knocking him from his feet, and within seconds Paartalu had clattered into Mitchell as players from both sides converged in an angry huddle.
Mitchell received his second yellow and was dismissed, as was, mystifyingly, Broich, who was given a straight red card for violent conduct from referee Brenton Hayward.
Paartalu, who was perhaps more deserving of a warning than Broich, escaped punishment altogether.
Ryan Griffiths produced a moment of brilliance three minutes after the break, belting a high, bouncing ball at the Roar goal. Theo was up to the task, however, athletically parrying the dipping shot.
A minute later, Henrique lofted in a free-kick down the other end and, regathering the half-cleared ball, sent his long-distance effort past Nash's post.
On 65 minutes, Newcastle coach Gary van Egmond brought on Craig Goodwin for James Brown, though the game plan for the Jets didn't alter much. Heskey cast a forlorn figure on his own out front.
Excellent play from Halloran down the right, and then Hingert through the middle, saw the ball roll to Henrique in a superb position. The Brazilian only had to put some venom into his shot to beat a scrambling Nash, but the effort was anything but powerful, allowing Nash to block what seemed a certain goal.
Berisha then blasted over for the Roar from the centre of the box, after making space for himself with some good close control.
On 76 minutes substitute James Meyer fired at goal, though Nash held the attempt easily.
The match was becoming more stretched as it entered its final 15 minutes, and Newcastle began to use their target man Heskey more effectively, sending long balls forward for him to knock down to his support players. Roar goalkeeper Theo snuffed out any Jets forays forward, though, before they became overly dangerous.
Newcastle's sense of urgency became apparent as full-time approached, but Brisbane's makeshift defence was largely able to hold on without any major scares.