Fans at Cleveland Showgrounds were treated to a football feast last night as Hyundai A-League Champions Brisbane Roar and Brisbane Premier League leaders Redlands United played out a nine-goal thriller.
In their final pre-season fixture against local opposition, the youthful Roar outfit dictated play from the outset and were made to rue some defensive lapses before Brendon Borrello snatched a last-gasp winner in stoppage time.
With an eye on Saturday’s pre-season game against the Newcastle Jets, Head Coach Rado Vidosic fielded a side full of the club’s next generation of talent with a hint of Hyundai A-League experience.
Among the National Youth League hopefuls were senior squad members Matt Acton, Anthony Proia, Rocky Visconte and Ivan Franjic, the latter handed the captain’s armband for the night, while Nick Fitzgerald and George Lambadaridis also fronted up for Brisbane.
Attacking weapon Fitzgerald opened the scoring in the fourth minute, easing the ball into the bottom corner of the net with a left-footed strike, before Kwame Yeboah dribbled around Redlands custodian Mitch O’Brien to slide home his side’s second 18 minutes later.
Redlands only need a win against Eastern Suburbs this weekend to secure the Brisbane Premier League title and showed the worth of their league leader status as the match progressed.
After Rhys Meredith pulled one back for the home side just before the interval, the beginning of the second half saw a flurry of goals.
Yeboah scored his second in the 52th minute before two almost identical headed goals in quick succession from Meredith meant the match was all square and the United striker had a deserved hat-trick to his name.
With their weekend fixture in mind, Redlands replaced their entire outfield team on the hour mark and the fresh legs further pushed their momentum as substitute Darren Homer put his side in front for the first time in the match after 76 minutes.
But in true Brisbane Roar fashion, the visitors were resilient and late goals to Yeboah – completing his own hat-trick – and Borrello snatched the victory for the Hyundai A-League club.
Redlands United 4 (Rhys Meredith 44’, 53’, 55’, Darren Homer 76’)
Brisbane Roar 5 (Nick Fitzgerald 4’, Kwame Yeboah 22’, 52’, 87’, Brandon Borrello 90’)