Roar player Brandon Borrello (left) celebrates with teammate Brett Holman after Holman scored the winning goal during the round 17 A-League match against the Western Sydney Wanderers at Suncorp Stadium.
Roar player Brandon Borrello (left) celebrates with teammate Brett Holman after Holman scored the winning goal during the round 17 A-League match against the Western Sydney Wanderers at Suncorp Stadium. DAVE HUNT

Returning Holman scores late winner for Roar

FORMER Socceroos star Brett Holman made a memorable return to the A-League, scoring in stoppage time to deliver the Brisbane Roar a dramatic 2-1 win over the Western Sydney Wanderers at Suncorp Stadium.

On the sidelines since late November because of knee surgery, substitute Holman was just 10 minutes into his comeback when he unleashed with a powerful strike that flew through the hands of Wanderers goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic.

It was tough on Janjetovic, who had kept the visitors - who were reduced to 10 men in the final 10 minutes after the dismissal of defender Scott Neville - in the game before that with a handful of saves.

But it was special for Holman and Roar, who made it back-to-back wins to displace Melbourne City, 2-1 losers to Newcastle on Friday night, in third spot on the ladder.

"A lot of people question this group, I don't know why ... but it's pretty hard to when they give you that, they give you everything, they never die, they never give up, and they keep going and they find a way to win," said Roar coach John Aloisi, who added that it was "great" to have Holman back.

"We've missed him ... because he's got experience, he's played at World Cups and he comes with a lot of qualities that you know can win you football games.

"In the little time he was on, he proved that he's got that quality."

While Holman made the difference late, teammate Brandon Borrello was perhaps the standout player on the park, starring for the second week in succession in a performance that included the game's opening goal in the 22nd minute.

Borrello netted from close range after Wanderers fullback Jack Clisby fluffed his attempt to clear a cross from Roar fullback Daniel Bowles, who started for the first time this season in place of the suspended Corey Brown.

Against the run of play, the Wanderers equalised in the 32nd minute through their Japanese import Jumpei Kusukami.

Found by former Roar star Mitch Nichols, the unmarked Kusukami blasted the ball through Brisbane's defence and past Roar goalkeeper Michael Theo.

But Nichols, who was booed every time he touched the ball, had a controversial end to his night when he exchanged words with the Roar bench when being substituted.

The Wanderers side included Kearyn Baccus despite him being charged with assault during the week.

Wanderers coach Tony Popovic said the club had "no dramas" with Baccus, who was among the visitors' best performers.

"That was dealt with ... he's fine. I thought he had a very good game, a bit like most of the team tonight," Popovic said.

The Roar are again in action on Tuesday night at Suncorp Stadium when they host Filipino club Global FC in an AFC Champions League playoff.

THE COURIER-MAIL

News Corp Australia


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