Roar thwart Victory in A-League draw
Brisbane Roar continued to thwart Melbourne Victory and their former coach Ange Postecoglou with a 1-1 draw in an enthralling A-League encounter at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
While the defending champions were far more welcoming of their old mentor than back in round two, Postecoglou endured a frustrating second return to Brisbane as the Victory failed to end a seven-match winless run against the Roar.
Diminutive midfielder Leigh Broxham scored the first headed goal of his career, and the visitors could well have led 3-0 at halftime, but the home side finished the stronger on a patchy surface.
After a month of rain and a series of rugby union and league matches, the pitch failed to deliver the even surface the Roar are used to at home.
But it did not prevent two quality goals and an entertaining contest in which Brisbane had a 12,624-strong crowd expecting a late winner as Ben Halloran made a huge impact off the bench.
The draw left third-placed Melbourne five points behind second-placed Central Coast on the A-League table while Brisbane are out of the six, but just one point from fifth.
Melbourne had lost in their past four visits to Brisbane, including the 5-0 rout in round two when anti-Postecoglou signs and chants were the order of the day.
Despite an enterprising opening 25 minutes by the home side, Melbourne looked in control and set for the three points at 1-0 approaching the hour mark.
But a superb pass by classy midfielder Luke Brattan put Ivan Franjic in the clear down the right sideline and the winger finished brilliantly by blazing past goalkeeper Nathan Coe.
Counterpart Michael Theo had until then kept the Roar in the match with some desperate reflex saves, stopping close-range efforts by Daniel Mullen and Archie Thompson.
Theo had no way of preventing a stunning opening goal by Broxham, against the run of play in the 11th minute.
Thompson had perfectly timed and weighted a lofted cross in the box for the 169cm Broxham who leapt high onto the back of Franjic, Australian Rules style, and headed over Theo.
The Roar, with captain Thomas Broich taking a far more direct approach on goal, continued to outflank Melbourne for most of the first half but the Victory's defence was up to each foray.