Melbourne Heart have extended their lead at the top of the National Youth League, producing a scintillating second-half performance to claim a come-from-behind 5-2 win over Brisbane Roar at Cleveland Showgrounds on Sunday afternoon.
Knowing a win would leapfrog them into the competition lead, Brisbane shot from the gate, and within 10 minutes they'd built a healthy 2-0 lead, which proved a fair reflection of a dominant first half.
But it was a complete role reversal for the final 45, as the Roar defence imploded and the visiting Heart went ballistic, first slashing the deficit to one through overage talent David Williams in the 70th, and then claiming the lead with two goals in two minutes to Zac Walker.
Super-sub Walker wasn't done yet, in the 85th he made it a hat-trick and then Williams grabbed his double with another one-on-one breakaway, capping off an remarkable five-goal run in just 18 minutes.
Of most concern for the hosts, the eventual scoreline was flattering, and would have been far wider if not for the acrobatic one-handed saves of Matt Acton.
The Roar's opening 45 was near to their best at home in 2011-12 but they certainly the price for their exorbitant first-half fuel expenditure.
Play started 10 minutes ahead of time at 2.50pm (local time) with officials bracing for severe weather conditions. The conditions should have favoured the Victorians but the Roar were the ones to thrive in the downpour before the Heart had their revenge in the drier second half.
Melbourne's defence learnt quickly that they had bigger concerns than wet socks and runny noses as they were forced to absorb a frantic Roar attack from the opening minute.
Eventually, the breakthrough came as an attempted clearance in the fifth minute went clattering into another defender and evaded goalkeeper Sebastian Mattei for an own goal from the feet of Josh Groenewald.
Brisbane's second goal came in the eighth minute, and this time Heart could take none of the credit.
Sure-footed Brandon Borello sliced down the right-hand flank before whipping a cross to the feet of Matthew Thurtell, who lost his man with an agile turn and a soft touch and beat the keeper with a powerful left foot to the corner of the net.
Borello was the pick of the Roar outfit, causing havoc on the right hand side and linking sharply with his companions in attack before being substituted in the second.
Brisbane continued to pile up the opportunities, while Heart's best chance of the first half came on the breakaway to Stipo Andrijasevic, who held off defender James Donachie but couldn't beat Matthew Acton with a well struck right footer taken on the run.
But Heart coach John Aloisi must have had some great oranges or a great half-time speech because his team came back from the interval looking determined, focused and ready to show commit.
After building their combinations in the first 10, they began to fully stretch out, all of a sudden capable of piercing the Brisbane defence at will.
Brisbane Roar: 2
Groenewald OG4, Thurtell 8
Melbourne Heart: 5
Williams 70, 88, Walker 75,76,85