For the second time in as many weeks, Melbourne City suffered a disappointing defeat on the road, this time at the hands of Brisbane Roar.
The hosts took all three points on a night that just wasn’t to be for City, a second half goal to Terry Antonis proving little more than a consolation.
Aurelio Vidmar made three changes to his teamsheet. Alessandro Lopane returned in place of the suspended Tolgay Arlsan, while Jimmy Jeggo made his first City start in the other midfield addition.
Nuno Reis was absent from the matchday squad after pulling up sore from our last fixture, meaning Jordon Hall was recalled to partner Curtis Good in defence.
Returning Socceroo Marco Tilio joined Marin Jakolis and Samuel Souprayen (both back from injury) in what a bench full of plenty of talent.
Starting XI: 1. Jamie YOUNG (GK), 2. Scott GALLOWAY, 18. Jordon HALL, 22. Curtis GOOD, 38. Harry POLITIDIS, 8. James JEGGO, 6. Steven UGARKOVIC, 21. Alessandro LOPANE, 15. Andrew NABBOUT, 11. Leo Natel, 9. Jamie MACLAREN (C).
Substitutes: 33. Patrick BEACH (GK), 7. Mathew LECKIE, 17. Terry ANTONIS, 23. Marco TILIO, 26. Samuel SOUPRAYEN, 37. Max CAPUTO, 44. Marin JAKOLIS.
Our City Boys kicked off the first half but it was Brisbane who had the first chance on goal, Kai Trewin opening scoring from a corner and putting us on the back foot from the opening moments.
Leo Natel thundered a free kick from distance towards the Brisbane goal that was punched clear by keeper Macklin Freke, and Jimmy Jeggo’s subsequent corner came close to levelling the scores as it pinged around the box before being cleared away.
A cheap giveaway from the Roar goalscorer allowed a dangerous shot from the quick-acting Andrew Nabbout but it was saved as City kept the pressure on in search of scoreline equity.
Brisbane however was able to capitalise in slippery conditions, Thomas Waddingham able to score off a fast counter to double the lead on the half-hour mark.
City Captain Jamie Maclaren looked to inspire his team with an instant reply, his dipping shot from long range following the kick-off almost catching Freke off his line but going narrowly over.
Things went from bad to worse for City in the space of just six minutes, Jay O’Shea and Keegan Jelacic both adding their names to the scoresheet with strikes from outside the box ahead of the break.
As the rain increased in Brisbane, so did the chances of a City second-half comeback, with a return from injury for Marin Jakolis to start the second half, joined in coming off the bench by both Mat Leckie and Terry Antonis.
That brief spark would be quickly doused as Waddingham doubled his tally less than a minute into half to make it five for the Roar.
As the clock approached the hour mark City fans saw one of the few highlights of the night, Marco Tilio entering the pitch for the first time since returning to the club on loan.
The quality of our substitutes shone through as we started to create a few more chances, a long-range Steven Ugarkovic volley forcing a good save out of Freke in the 73rd minute.
As we’ve seen several times already this season, Terry Antonis was able to get his name on the scoresheet – latching onto a failed clearance following Jeggo’s corner.
Maclaren almost made it two in two minutes as a close-range header was stopped on the line before Jakolis and Leckie both had chances to pull another back in stoppage time, but ultimately, Freke was equal to the task.
We now turn our attention to next Saturday’s home Melbourne Derby, with a 7:45pm AEDT kick-off ahead as we look for a much-needed reponse.