Brisbane Roar had to settle for a hard-earned point at the Sydney Football Stadium against a resilient Sydney FC on Saturday.
Despite scoring an early goal courtesy of defender Luke DeVere, Brisbane were unable to find a winner after conceding before the half-time break and had to be content with a 1-1 draw.
After a steady start from both sides, it was Brisbane who took the lead after seven minutes when DeVere got on the end of a Thomas Broich corner to head the ball into net.
A minute later Brisbane had a golden opportunity to double the lead when Broich bamboozled the Sydney defence in the box to set up Massimo Murdocca, but the little midfielder pulled his shot agonisingly just wide of the post.
The goal settled Brisbane and they began to control possession through the midfield channels, keeping Sydney pressed back in their own half.
Matt McKay took matters into his own hands on 33 minutes when he ran from inside his own half to within sight of the Sydney goal, but his shot was well saved by Ivan Necevski.
Immediately down the other end, with their first effort on goal, Sydney drew level.
Courtesy of a mix-up in the Brisbane defence, Alex Brosque brought the home side level as he ran onto the loose ball to knock the ball over an onrushing Michael Theoklitos.
The goal initiated a period of dominance for Sydney as they looked likely to push on and grab a goal to give them the lead at half time.
As the half drew to a close, Brisbane struggled to maintain quality possession, too often giving the ball up to their counterparts in blue.
Murdocca had the final opportunity of the half in time added on, but Necevski again came to Sydney-s rescue with a fine save to stop Brisbane-s No.8 from restoring the lead before the break.
Brisbane coach Ange Postecoglou made one change at half time to attempt to wrest control of the contest back from Sydney, however the home side nearly took the lead inside the first minute of the restart.
Michael Theoklitos made a great save from a Brosque shot, the rebound falling to Sydney striker Bruno Cazarine, but the Brazilian couldn-t put his lunging effort on goal.
Murdocca was in the mix again put in on goal by substitute Kosta Barbarouses, but couldn-t get the ball free to get a shot off and Sydney cleared for a corner.
Following a punch out from the resultant corner by Necevski, Ivan Franjic hit a quality volley from outside the box but the ball curled just wide of the goal.
The match was evenly poised throughout the opening 20 minutes of the second half as both sides looked for the crucial breakthrough to given them the lead.
Matt Smith had a chance on 67 minutes from a McKay free-kick from out wide, but his headed effort was pushed around the post by Necevski.
Sydney also had their chances with captain McFlynn striking wide from distance with just over 15 minutes remaining in the contest.
With the clock ticking down Brisbane began to exert some real pressure on the Sydney defence with some desperate defending keeping the Roar at bay.
DeVere nearly had a double with six minutes to go when his header from a Franjic cross grazed the top of the crossbar.
A minute later McKay struck the ball over the bar from the edge of the six yard box following some excellent lead-up work and cross from Barbarouses on the right, with the ball bouncing just in front of the Roar captain before he hit the ball.
Try as they might, the Brisbane team couldn-t find a way through some very resolute Sydney defending.
Erik Paartalu had the final chance of the game, but his shot from distance summed up the closing stages of the match as the intricate lead-up work failed to yield a troubling shot on Sydney-s goal.
Postecoglou again credited his side with an excellent effort to finish the game strongly, but said it was a frustrating conclusion to the match.
“We didn-t play well first half and I wasn-t really happy the way we went about things,” Postecoglou said.
“There was improvement in the second half and we had enough chances to win the game.
“You look at last 15 minutes we were out there trying to win the game and I certainly can-t fault the effort of the players.
“Maybe we could have done better in front of goal, but it really was a frustrating night.
“To Sydney-s credit they worked hard and played well, but we needed a little more composure in front of goal.”
Sydney FC (Alex Brosque 34-)
Brisbane Roar (Luke DeVere 7-)
Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney
Referee: Peter Green
Sydney FC squad: 3. Stephan KELLER, 5. Hayden FOXE, 6. Hirofumi MORIYASU, 9. Bruno CAZARINE, 12. Shannon COLE, 14. Alex BROSQUE, 15. Terry MCFLYNN (c) (2. Sebastian RYALL 90-+1), 19. Mark BRIDGE, 20. Ivan NECEVSKI (gk), 21. Scott JAMIESON. 23. Rhyan GRANT (11. Kofi DANNING 78-).
Substitutes not used: 1. Liam REDDY (gk), 8. Stuart MUSIALIK
Yellow cards: 23. Rhyan GRANT (32-), 15. Tery McFLYNN (45-+1), 5. Hayden FOXE (49-)
Red cards: Nil
Brisbane Roar squad: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH, 3. Luke DEVERE, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 11. REINALDO (9. Jean Carlos SOLORZANO 69-), 12. Matt MUNDY, 15. Matt McKAY (c), 17. Mitch NICHOLS (7. Kosta BARBAROUSES 46-), 22. Thomas BROICH.
Substitutes not used: 23. Milan SUSAK, 20. Andrew REDMAYNE (gk)
Yellow cards: 12. Matt MUNDY (23-)
Red cards: Nil