Connor Pain’s stunning volley has secured a third 1-0 victory in a row for Western United, sending John Aloisi’s men top of the A-League men table, at least temporarily.
Western United Head Coach John Aloisi made one change from the starting XI that defeated Melbourne City last week, with Nikolai Topor-Stanley coming in at the back to replace Leo Lacroix.
Vice-captain Josh Risdon started at right-back, making the 200th appearance of his A-League Men career, while Dylan Wenzel-Halls, Jamie Young and Steven Lustica all took to the pitch against their former club.
United was immediately on the front foot with Alessandro Diamanti seeing an early effort deflected out for a corner.
Dylan Wenzel-Halls was alive to a loose ball in the penalty area but saw his effort saved by Macklin Freke before Lachie Wales came close.
The best chance of the early stages fell to Connor Pain as he latched onto a cut-back from Wales, and Wenzel-Halls couldn’t turn in the rebound amidst a goalmouth scramble.
Wenzel-Halls was again in the thick of it just past the first quarter of the match when he went down in the box under a challenge from
United had a lot of joy in the wide areas on both sides, with Wales and Pain constantly getting in behind their opposite full-backs to create chances.
But Aloisi’s men were unable to turn territory and momentum into goals as the sides went into the break with the deadlock still intact.
To dispel any feelings of anxiety after a dominant first half, Pain struck almost instantly after the restart to give the hosts the left, prodding home a brilliant left-footed volley after Wales picked him out with a cross.
Brisbane began to turn the screw as they looked to get back into the match, but United’s defence held strong to close any gaps that may have opened up.
As the minutes ticked down and United was happy to retain possession and defend slightly deeper, much of the life was taken out of the contest.
Dylan Pierias injected a bit of pace into the attack off the bench, and the No.5 linked up with Risdon immediately with the right-back sending a cross over the goalkeeper and off the post, somehow evading the back of the net.
The milestone man came close again minutes later when he rifled a half volley against the side-netting in search of a match-clinching second goal.