Sydney leave it late

A clinical two-goal haul from striker James Meyer was not enough to salvage victory for the Brisbane Roar, as a late Sydney FC penalty capped off a thrilling 3-3 draw at Perry Park on Sunday.

A clinical two-goal haul from striker James Meyer was not enough to salvage victory for the Brisbane Roar, as a late Sydney FC penalty capped off a thrilling 3-3 draw at Perry Park on Sunday.

Host side Brisbane dominated possession early and were rewarded after only four minutes, Meyer confidently burying a first-touch volley after a nifty cross from the right wing by Daniel Bowles.

The match proved an end-to-end affair; Sydney's Kofi Danning nearly provided an instant reply with a blistering shot only slightly over the bar, before Meyer came close to doubling his tally with a long range strike for the Roar.

Sydney translated their attacking chances into an equaliser just after the quarter-hour mark, Tomislav Cirjak providing the finishing touch to a probing cross from the right flank on 17 minutes.

The Roar's midfield lynchpin Kenneth Dougall showed poise as the Brisbane side regained their composure and began to sustain possession in the midfield, culminating in an excellent chance for Josh McVey on 25 minutes.

Roar skipper Christopher Bush displayed a deft touch in finding Meyer at the halfway line, whose well-weighted pass played McVey through on goal. With only keeper Aaron Liddell to beat, the Roar front-man shot wide from 18 yards.

The home-side looked comfortable in possession but Sydney's quick-strike capability was demonstrated just before the break. Danning's neat aerial delivery would have found striker David Gullo if not for a brave clearance from goalkeeper Matthew Acton on the edge of his area.

Brisbane came out roaring in the second half, controlling the midfield with precise passing and off-ball movement.

Their first chance of the second period came on 54 minutes, as Bush scythed through Sydney's backline after some neat interplay between Matt Thurtell and Dougall. Bush only partially connected on an instinctive snap shot, which trickled beyond Liddell's grasp only to rebound harmlessly off the upright.

The Sydney stopper was not so lucky two minutes later, as James Meyer bagged his second, receiving the ball on the corner of the area, cutting in strongly and guiding the ball over Liddell's outstretched hand.

Attacking channels began to open up out wide for the away side as they pressed for an equaliser, and after 63 minutes the ever-dangerous Danning was present to control a low cross and unleash a shot which bobbled into the net.

The goal-flurry continued as the match elevated to a furious pace. Displaying the killer instinct that saw him dominate the Queensland State League last season, Matthew Thurtell propelled the home side to a 3-2 lead on 67 minutes. The young gun launched a wicked curling shot from 25 metres into a flat-footed Liddell's top left corner.

Sydney FC coach Steve Corica was happy to acknowledge the strike.

"I thought that was a fantastic goal by the young boy, bent it far corner, it was a brilliant goal," Corica said.

The Roar looked set to record victory, until the shifty Cirjak was deemed to have been brought down in the area by Acton with only minutes to play. Danning coolly converted the penalty to ensure the inter-state rivals would share the spoils in the opening round of Youth League action.

Corica was encouraged by his team's performance, but considered the draw a fortunate result.

"We created a few chances but I think in the second half, the Roar were the better team," he said.

Brisbane Roar 3 (Meyer 4, 55, Thurtell 67) Sydney FC 3 (Cirjak 16, Danning 62, 88)