You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Returning Holman steers Roar to thriller

NZN 28/01/2017 Vince Rugari

Brett Holman has capped his return from injury by guiding Brisbane to a last-gasp 2-1 A-League win over Western Sydney.

Making his first appearance since November after undergoing knee surgery, the former Socceroo scored the winner in the third minute of injury time on Saturday night to lift the Roar into third spot on the ladder.

A cheeky backheel from fellow substitute Manuel Arana helped set him up, with Holman dribbling forward after receiving the ball and then unleashing with a rasping shot from around 20 metres out.

Wanderers goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic managed to get both his hands to it but couldn't keep it out, delighting the 13,058 fans at Suncorp Stadium, who were treated to another dramatic Roar finish.

It was no less than what the Roar deserved after dominating large stretches of the match, and taking a whopping 17 shots on goal to Western Sydney's nine.

It's also a crucial result in the context of the finals race, with Brisbane closing the gap on second-placed Melbourne Victory to just five points.

Janjetovic probably had man-of-the-match honours stitched up before Holman's goal. In just his third match since his controversial switch from Sydney FC, he made a string of vital saves, twice denying Jamie Maclaren from close range as well as a curling effort from Tommy Oar late in the second half.

Maclaren was recalled to the Roar's starting side by coach John Aloisi after he was benched two weeks in a row and, while he didn't score, he set up Brandon Borrello for the opening goal in the 22nd minute.

Daniel Bowles, who filled in for the suspended Corey Brown at left-back, created the chance with a terrific early cross that went straight to Jack Clisby.

However, the Western Sydney defender mistakenly coughed his clearance up to Maclaren, who slid the ball across for an easy finish for Borrello.

The Wanderers - who could have climbed into the top six with a win - equalised 10 minutes later courtesy of Jumpei Kusukami's thumping shot from the edge of the box.

But it appeared neither side had it in them to claim all three points - until Holman's dramatic late cameo.

The Wanderers played out the last nine minutes with 10 men after Scott Neville's second yellow card, but coach Tony Popovic felt they deserved to take something from the game.

"To think we're going home with nothing is hard to believe. I thought we were good for at least a point, if not three," he said.

"We created some good opportunities, played some good football at a tough place against a good team."

Aloisi said the manner of the victory was yet another example of the Roar's famous fighting spirit.

"A lot of people question this group - I don't know why," he said.

"They never give up; they keep going. We spoke about it before the game - winners find a way to win."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon