After a night which seemed likely to be the latest frustration in a long and frustrating season, Matt McKay broke the Roar's goal drought at Lang Park tonight.
McKay measured a 25-metre volley into the top corner of the net, with only 9 minutes left on the clock in their A-league game against Perth Glory. Queensland Roar were deserved winners, and would only have had themselves to blame if the game had ended 0-0.
For most of the game, the home side -- with Damian Mori and Simon Lynch a vigorous pair leading the line -- had the edge, but could not make the real difference on the scoreboard.
With the Roar frustrated and failing to capitalise on their chances, there was always the possibility that Perth could snatch the game with a counter attack.
But in the end, the Roar fans were chanting "Can we play you every week" as Queensland completed its third win over Perth this season. For a team which only has five wins for the whole season, Queensland obviously needs some improvement against the other six teams in the league.
It was Queensland's first win in seven games, and first points on the board for new coach Frank Farina. There will be a spring in the players' steps on Thursday when they take on Newcastle
Farina gave new signing Chris Grossman a start on the right side of midfield, and was able to welcome back Simon Lynch upfront. Stuart McLaren wore the captain's armband, as Farina sees him as the natural leader of the team. He played the base in a diamond midfield, with McKay as the tip, and Spase Dilevski on the right.
For Perth, last week's hat-trick hero Jamie Harnwell started up front again. The crowd was noticeably more sparse than usual, and was later announced as 11,237.
In the settling period at the start of the game, neither side put together many fluent moves.
The 22nd minute saw the first good chance of the game. Queensland set Gorssman free down the right, and his cross was Beckhamesque. Lynch turned the ball goalwards, but big Tommi Tomich palmed it away for a good save.
From the ensuing corner, Josh McCloughan powered the ball goalwards. Damian Mori was in front of the keeper and tried to flick it on, but only succeeded in stopping the header altogether.
The first half continued as an even encounter. Perth played a 4-5-1, which sounds defensive, but because of the attacking qualities of their midfield (Despotovski, Bertos, Sekulovski, Young and Colosimo) they were a constant threat.
In the 36th minute, Jamie Harnwell and McCloughan tangled each other up just outside the penalty area. Both went to ground, and McCloughan was fortunate not to concede a free-kick in a dangerous position.
In the 39th minute came Queensland's best chance of the half. McKay stroked a lovely through ball to a dashing Damian Mori. Under heavy pressure Mori shanked his shot wide.
0-0 at half time, but Stuart Young had a chance just before the break. A mix-up in the Roar defence led to Ognenovski meekly serving the ball up for Young to shoot from just outside the box. Reddy made a smart save to his left.
Queensland began to pile on the pressure in the second half. In the 53rd minute a Spase Dilevski piledriver was turned away by Tomich. Seconds later Queensland's Grossman won the ball back, advanced to the byline and tried to cut the ball back for Lynch. Webster made a crucial tackle to deny him.
Perth had a good spell in the middle of the half, especially after David Micevski came on. Queensland sparked up again with Milicic replacing a tiring Lynch, and Vidosic coming on for Grossman.
In the 67th minute, Matt McKay had an excellent chance to notch a match-winning goal. His run and control of Dilevski's penetraing pass were both superbly executed. He was one-on-one with Tomich.
It should have been a goal with more skilled finishing, but McKay shot straight at the keeper.
Then the Glory had their chance, with Young through on goal. But Reddy came out quickly to close him down, and saved the day again.
It was McKay who finally broke the deadlock with his 81st minute volley. The relief was evident all around the stadium. It's far too soon to call one win a resurgence, but it was certainly a game that Frank Farina was very glad to win.
At the press conference Farina spoke largely in platitudes. He thought the team had played well, and deserved to win. They had created plenty of chances, which was a good thing. The young players (Grossman) had played well, but you need a blend of youth and experience, so it was important to have players such as Mori and McLaren.
He won't be making many changes for the game against Newcastle, making it pretty clear that Mori & Lynch were his first-choice strikers.
Matt McKay was likewise pretty pleased with his goal. Normally, he said, when he hits those shots he sprays them everywhere. So he was happy with how he hit the volley. "It was good technique," he said.