Roar excite in close loss to Jets
THE Brisbane Roar may have lost their first pre-season trial against A-League opposition, going down 1-0 to the Jets in Tamworth on Saturday night, but they would have won plenty of fans for their attacking style.
A 20th minute goal from Ryan Griffiths was all that separated the sides in a match where both sides had key players missing and both coaches used the opportunity to trial some new talent.
Henrique had the first clear cut opportunity of the match after seven minutes when Roar recruit Ben Halloran slipped a ball across the top of the box, but the Brazilian's left-foot effort missed the target.
Rocky Visconte was next to threaten four minutes later when he let a shot go from just outside the box, but Newcastle keeper Mark Birighitti had the effort well covered.
The goal came from a Jobe Wheelhouse corner to the near post which was flicked on by Marko Jesic for Griffiths to blast the ball into the back of the net from inside the six-yard box.
Both sides enjoyed periods where they dictated the tempo of the match and the Roar was soon on the attack again through Henrique who played in Massimo Murdocca, forcing a sharp reflex save out of Brirghitti from close range.
The loose ball then fell to Halloran who hit his follow up shot into the side-netting.
The second half started as evenly matched as the first, with neither side able to create any clear-cut chances.
That was until the 59th minute when Matthew Jurman rose to win a header at the back post following a Roar corner. The central-defender's effort was parried away at the near post by another reflex save by Birghitti.
Jets coach Gary van Egmond made six second-half substitutions, and Brisbane had a couple of chances to draw level through striker Besart Berisha while the new players found their rhythm.
The Albanian shot just wide after pouncing on a Jets turnover, before he was again denied by Birghitti who pulled off a stunning one-handed save to tip the ball over the crossbar.
The Roar will now travel to Adelaide to take on the Reds on Saturday, before trials against Sydney FC in Mackay (Sept 16) and the Central Coast Mariners on the Sunshine Coast (Sept 23).
Sydney FC has been forced to cancel a friendly against APIA Leichhardt Tigers on Wednesday night due to a lack of available Sky Blues players.
The team needed the help of the Australian Institute of Sport to field a team against Adelaide United on Saturday sending out seven uncontracted teenagers in the 4-2 loss.
Sydney coach Ian Crook said, "Unfortunately we don't have enough players to be able to put together a team to play matches twice a week at present".
"We still have players in the final stages of rehabilitation from off season surgery, and we also have a few niggly injuries."