City continued a strong run of home form with a 2-1 win over Brisbane Roar at AAMI Park on Sunday.
In the driver’s seat for the majority of the contest, City created a number of chances across the 90 minutes but it was two bits of magic from Aiden O’Neill that ensured we’d register our 150th A-League Men win in club history.
Richard van der Venne missed the clash with a minor calf injury which saw Scott Jamieson return to the starting XI in the midfield role he played off the bench last week.
Callum Talbot also returned to the line-up, while Nuno Reis was deemed fit after last Friday’s head knock but moved to the bench.
A pair of Academy products in Emile Peios and Patrick Hogan were both named on the bench after strong starts to the NPL2 season.
Starting XI: 1. Tom GLOVER (GK), 25. Callum TALBOT, 6. Thomas LAM, 22. Curtis GOOD, 38. Jordan BOS, 3. Scott JAMIESON, 13. Aiden O’NEILL, 14. Valon BERISHA, 23. Marco TILIO, 15. Andrew NABBOUT, 9. Jamie MACLAREN.
Substitutes: 33. Matthew SUTTON (GK), 2. Scott GALLOWAY, 10. Florin BERENGUER, 18. Jordon HALL, 4. Nuno REIS 50. Emile PEIOS, 51. Patrick HOGAN.
City dominated proceedings for a majority of the contest and the tone was set in the opening 15 minutes as we held almost 80% of possession in that time period.
A misunderstanding from the Brisbane midfield would present the first highlight of the afternoon, Aiden O’Neill bringing City fans to their feet with a superb strike.
Pouncing on a loose ball, O’Neill charged forward towards goal and with no defenders closing him down took full advantage and fired City into the lead with a powerful strike from well outside the box.
Andrew Nabbout chanced his arm only a few moments later, trying one from a similar spot only for his attempt to fizz over the crossbar.
An otherwise strong first half was soured just after the half-hour mark when Thomas Lam picked up his fifth yellow card of the season, meaning he will now miss next week’s trip to Macarthur.
Jamie Maclaren won a penalty in first-half stoppage time when he was brought down in the box, but his spot-kick was denied by Roar goalkeeper Jordan Holmes who guessed the correct way and pulled off the save to keep it 1-0 at half-time.
City continued to control the tempo of the contest after play resumed for the second 45 minutes, with full-backs Callum Talbot and Jordan Bos looking to push forward in search of a second.
Bos went on one of his trademark runs in the 60th minute, beating two Roar defenders before delivering a centring ball to Berisha on the edge of the box but the strike sailed over the bar.
Brisbane failed to fire off a single shot across the first 80 minutes of the contest, but that all changed when Callum Talbot was pinged for a foul in the box on Brisbane forward Jez Lofthouse.
Jay O’Shea then stepped up and scored from the ensuing penalty kick to draw scores level at 1-1.
Despite Brisbane equalising, City managed to maintain its cool, crafting a winner in the dying stages to ensure its 90-minute performance was rewarded with the full three points.
A well-placed corner from Valon Berisha found O’Neill in the box, whose header was perfectly placed into the far corner to give City the lead once again in the 88th minute.
That O’Neill brace would ultimately prove the difference as City held on for the win to extend its longstanding run of results against Brisbane at AAMI Park.
The team now turns their attention to next Sunday’s away clash against Macarthur, which again kicks off at 3pm.