A first-half penalty to Besart Berisha was the difference as Brisbane Roar were made to battle for a tight 1-0 victory over Newcastle Jets at Suncorp Stadium.
The win was only the second time the Roar had beaten their New South Wales rivals at the Brisbane venue in 11 attempts and Berisha’s goal made him the club’s all-time leading goal scorer in the Hyundai A-League (26).
Brisbane were forced into two changes, Matt Jurman and James Donachie making up the central defensive pairing in the absence of skipper Matt Smith and Ivan Franjic, who travelled to Hong Kong as part of the Qantas Socceroos squad.
It was clear from the outset where the Jets saw their chances coming from, the away side attempting to play in Emile Heskey twice inside the first five minutes and could have had broken the deadlock on either occasion if the crosses picked out the big striker.
James Brown forced Roar custodian Michael Theo into a diving save on the quarter hour mark before Erik Paartalu’s left-footed shot from the edge of the penalty area flew marginally wide ten minutes later.
Brisbane were edging further forward as the half wore on and won a penalty four minutes before the break when Newcastle defender Josh Mitchell fouled Jack Hingert inside the area.
Roar striker Besart Berisha bore the responsibility and calmly converted, sending the ball to Matthew Nash’s right.
In a dramatic end to the first half both team were reduced for ten men, referee Brenton Hayward giving Thomas Broich a red card for alleged violent conduct and awarding Josh Mitchell a second yellow card for his retaliation.
The home side started the second half stronger and Henrique could have doubled his side’s advantage with twenty minutes left to play when Hingert’s darting run into the penalty box fell to the Brazilian winger’s feet.
Henrique’s contact on the ball wasn’t clean which allowed Jets ‘keeper Matthew Nash to keep his side in the game with a quick save.
Roar Head Coach Rado Vidosic brought attacking options James Meyer and Do Dong-Hyun into the fixture late as his side chased a second goal that would put the contest out of reach for Newcastle.
The latter recorded his first shot on target within a minute of his introduction and won a free-kick in a crucial position with thirty seconds of stoppage time left, Paartalu dipping his shot on target but it was easily saved by Nash.
A largely uneventful second stanza was brought to a close after three minutes of stoppage time, the Roar holding on for their third win of the Hyundai A-League season.
In the post-match press conference, Vidosic was honest in his appraisal of the game.
“The game was one of two halves,” he said.
“Unfortunately, one half it was 11 v 11 and it was a very good game until two players were sent off.
“After that, it was a bit cagey and no one really wanted to make any mistakes so unfortunately the second half wasn’t maybe as good as the first half.
“But I was proud of the boys and the way they worked for the entire game.”
Brisbane Roar 1 (Besart BERISHA 41’ (pen))
Newcastle Jets 0
Saturday, 1 December 2012
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 6.45pm local time
Referee: Brenton Hayward
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEO (gk), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO (c), 4. Matt JURMAN, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Besart BERISHA, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 10. HENRIQUE (21. James MEYER 76'), 11. Ben HALLORAN (16. DO Dong-Hyun 85’), 15. James DONACHIE, 19. Jack HINGERT (13. Yuji TAKAHASHI 90’), 22. Thomas BROICH
Substitutes Not Used: 20. Matt ACTON (gk)
Yellow Cards: Nil
Red Cards: Thomas BROICH 45’
Newcastle Jets: 2. Scott NEVILLE, 4. Josh MITCHELL, 5. Dominik RITTER, 7. James BROWN (15. Craig GOODWIN 66’), 8. Ruben ZADKOVICH, 9. Emile HESKEY, 10. Bernardo RIBIERO (12. Joshua BRILLANTE 46’), 11. Connor CHAPMAN, 16. Jobe WHEELHOUSE (c) (17. James VIRGILI 71’), 23. Ryan GRIFFITHS, 30. Matthew NASH (gk)
Substitutes Not Used: 30. Jack DUNCAN (gk)
Yellow Cards: Scott NEVILLE 19’, Ruben ZADKOVICH 30’, Josh MITCHELL 36’, 45’, Connor CHAPMAN 44', Ryan GRIFFITHS 49’, Dominik RITTER 90'+3
Red Cards: Josh MITCHELL 45’