FULL-TIME: The top of the table clash ends in a 1-1 draw. Labinot Haliti neutralised Besart Berisha's first half goal late on after huge Wanderers pressure. Both sets of fans can be reasonably happy, but the result favours the visitors who maintain the 7 point gap at the top. The Premier's Plate is probably gone, but as Wanderers fans know, it is a paper trophy.
The home side really ramped up the pressure for the last hour, and will be concerned that they lacked the cutting edge to hurt the Roar further. The Wanderers again relied heavily on Ono and Hersi to make things happen, as well as Mooy with his hit and miss deliveries. They'll need to bring in a couple of replacements next year to maintain their impressive A-League record.
Brisbane will be happy with a point away from home, and the likes of Brattan and Berisha can go home happy. Broich had a quiet game by his standards, while McKay was missed.
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Henrique is doing his best to force something here, but he is crowded out in the midfield. We have a tender moment as Matt Smith falls over the byline and is caught in a cuddle by future triumphant Socceroos manager Tony Popovic.
We'll have three minutes of added time here, and it'll begin with a Roar corner. More drama to come. Brattan picks out Franjic on the edge of the box, who spoons it over impressively.
In a few minutes. The wanderers fans will realize they're still 7 points behind... #WSWvBRI — Justin Smith (@smithj_43) February 7, 2014
So this one looks destined for a draw here, which is just about right. The Roar will be far happier with that than the Wanderers, who were desperate to close the gap and keep the battle for the plate alive.
Brattan whips it in. Everyone misses it predictably and it bounces across the goal. Roar recover and are pushing hard.
Haliti was booked for his celebration after the goal. Silly. The free-kick goes straight into the wall and out for a corner.
The Roar try to play it into the box. Berisha runs into Topor-Stanley and buys a free-kick right in front. DANGER!
That was a long time coming - even if it looked like they could play all night and not get on the sheet. Should be a cracking last five minutes or so here!
GOAL! Labinot Haliti has put the ball in and lit up the final ten minutes! Juric looked like he was held in the box as Mooy curled it in. It sneaks through to Haliti ghosting at the back post, and he adjusts his body to finish under control.
Wanderers attacking with 10 to go, looking for an equaliser. Fans with their backs to the action doing the Poznan. Gold. #aleague #wswvbri — Sunil Awasthi (@sa9321) February 7, 2014
The Wanderers have given it everything tonight, but the Roar's defence has stood firm. In open play, it has held up well - but they have gifted far too many free-kicks and defended them haphazardly. I fancy another goal here. Could go either way, with chances opening up at both ends. Wanderers are losing concentration at the back as they push on. They might as well - 2-0 makes no odds to them, but a draw would be something.
JURIC GOES DOWN IN THE BOX. The crowd appeals, the player doesn't. No pen. Theo took down the player but well after he'd cleared the ball legally. Correct decision.
Broich is trying to make things happen. Anything to light up this dull period. He finds Brattan, who finds Covic with a high cross.
Haliti and Juric come on for Bridge and Santalab. Good options, coming on to replace two who put in a good shift. Sensible stuff from Poppa.
So, fifteen minutes to go here, and it's become a scrappy encounter here in Parramatta. Still no luck for the Wanderers, who are looking increasingly desperate - and pushing forward. Big gaps starting to open up in behind, and Berisha has that glint in his eye.
CHANCE! Mark Bridge flashes one past the near post when he should have done better.
The Western Sydney Wanderers fans don't mind a replica shirt mind. Crowd's full of red and black hoops! — Richard Hodges (@rich_hodges2008) February 7, 2014
SO CLOSE: Henrique flashes one past the post after a great flick over the top of the defence form Luke Brattan. Covic beaten, that would have been curtains.
Excellent possession play from the Wanderers. Mooy curls in an inviting cross, and it's put behind. The ball pings about from the second phase, and Santalab acrobatically. High and wide.
I've yet to attend a Wanderers game. The atmosphere looks amazing. Almost Origin-like. — Niko Pajarillo (@NikoPajarillo) February 7, 2014
It's end to end here. Not great football, but enjoyable in its unpredictability. The second half has been punishing so far for Roar fans, but they can take solace in the knowledge that for all their bluster, the Wanderers still have not managed to threaten with any severity.
Rare chance for the Roar at the other end, as Berisha and Broich try to force the ball in. That'll be a boost for the league leaders.
@Ralston1990 great game happening right now. Wanderers all over Brisbane but can't get the ball in the net. Goal mouth scrambles the lot — Djemba-Stevo (@StevoGlasgow) February 7, 2014
Santalab gets to a Hail mary down the right, rounds Theo. The defence covers the slow shot across goal, but Theo almost drops a clanger. ALL WANDERERS.
Excellent build-up from the Wanderers. Polenz is starting to make his presence known. Ono and Hersi dominating the right channels. Mooy being Mooy. Couple of corners to the Wanderers. Another coming. Pressure building, but no end product yet.....
Shots piling up this half for Wanderers. We now have double the amount of Brisbane. Let's finish one off boys! #WSWvBRI #GoWanderers — WS Wanderers FC (@wswanderersfc) February 7, 2014
And the free-kick count continues to rise ridiculously. Ono steps over it, Santalab delivers, but it is headed away. This is getting silly. It's a 40 yard shootout.
Poljak connects beautifully on the half-volley. Miles wide, but he got his boot on that one.
You feel a goal coming for the Wanderers #wswvbri — Robbie Striker (@RobbieStriker) February 7, 2014
Mooy blasts it into the wall, and it goes behind for a corner. Ono delivers, but Brisbane clear easily enough. The Roar have had nothing for the first eight minutes of the second period.
Smith and Santalab come together as the ball comes over the top of the visitors' defence. Yellow card for Smith, another free-kick for Wanderers. Great position, just off centre, 5 yards outside.
WANDERERS HIT THE POST! The home side counter through Hersi again down the right. He picks Santalab out inside, who bundles the ball against Theo's near post! So much pressure already - the second half picks up exactly where the first ended. Huge question marks over the Roar's defence.
Besart Berisha pulls the trigger for the opener. Photo: Brendan Esposito
Here we go - we're off again for the second half. And there's a chance for the Wanderers in the first 30 seconds! Ono sneaks Hersi in down the right. He hits it at the defender, gets a lucky rebound and chips into the far post. Everyone misses it. Roar asleep. Great start!
Just in, turn on TV and shock horror (!) the Wanderers are 1-0 down! #WSWvBRI Looks like Berisha snuck one past Covic! Big effort needed now — Lee McKerracher (@LeeMcKerracher) February 7, 2014
HALF-TIME: A cracking first half here in Parramatta. The Wanderers started at 180kph, but couldn't put the ball away, and were punished by the league leaders when they gave Besart Berisha too much time in the box. The game has swung back and forth dramatically, with the Wanderers having the best of the late stages of the first half. Popovic's side was really knocking on the door, and look dangerous from set-pieces. Which is handy, as the last 20 minutes was an exercise in trading free-kicks. There will not be 22 men left on this pitch by full-time. A full-blooded encounter, I'm calling 2-1 Roar.
We'll have one minute of added time here. Wanderers on the ball. Mooy delivers a nice ball in, but it is cleared easily. Brisbane look to counter, but lose control and that'll be that.
There'll just be enough time for a free-kick to the Roar here, as Franjic is taken down about 10 yards outside the Wanderers' box. DANGER.
Lovely football from the Wanderers there, but that heavy pass killed it. #WSWvBRI — Igusti (@adnyana179) February 7, 2014
Come on Wanderers. Now we've finally woken up from the post raw goal slump, let's keep it together. @Trekwest @Minxsha — Matthew Cooper (@matt02392) February 7, 2014
Now Ono is played in, makes room for himself - almost - but is closed down as he shoots. The ball comes back in, Santalab finds himself near it, but the ball squirms harmlessly to Theo. It's all happening here, and it's all Wanderers for now.
The ball comes in, Theo misjudges it, and again it flashes dangerously across the box. The Roar's defence is looking very dodgy from set-pieces, and they are giving plenty of them away. More cards, more goals coming. Five minutes until half-time. 1-1 would be fair, but the Roar have the one goal advantage at the moment.
Now Steffanuto is pinged for a foul on Hersi for a late challenge. That's another card. Getting tasty here. Another free-kick in a dangerous place. All Wanderers now.
Chance for the home side, as a back post header from Spiranovic from an Ono curling free-kick goes well over. Great ball in. Miller got a harsh yellow for the free-kick. Was more of a cumulative team one, with Miller taking the booking.
Wanderers attacking line is incredibly flat. Four standing on offside line with no variant of depth. #WSWvBRI — Dominic Bossi (@DomBossi) February 7, 2014
Dangerous free-kick here. Brattan lines it up. Petratos also looking interested. It's Petratos! He flashes it past the post. Decent effort. The free-kick came from a Topor-Stanley foul, looked a bit harsh first up.
Close! Hersi on the volley forces a diving save out of the Brisbane keeper. Wanderers putting pressure on here #WSWvBRI #GoWanderers — WS Wanderers FC (@wswanderersfc) February 7, 2014
The corner is cleared well, but the Wanderers come again. A bit of pinball results in the ball popping out to Hersi, who tries an opportunist shot across Theo. Great save! The Roar keeper turns it around the far post. Best chance for about half an hour for the home side. They worked hard to make that opening.
D'Apuzzo is set free by Bridge down the left, but the Roar defence drifts well and smothers the ball. The Wanderers regain control of the ball, and in the end their persistence wins a corner as Ono's pass is deflected behind. Good hustle from the home team.
Mooy running over every free kick for Wanderers, you're not fooling anyone haha #aleague #WSWvBRI — Nathan Borg (@nathanvb10) February 7, 2014
The Roar swarm forward in numbers, but Franjic loses the ball as he shaped to shoot on the inside. Now Mooy has chopped down Brattan from the side. Almost from behind that one. The Wanderers will end this one with 10 men if they carry on letting their frustrations run away with them.
Fed up with working to get the ball back, Spiranovic slides in recklessly and earns a yellow. If he caught the man, that would have been red. He was not in control of his body. His studs were just about down, but it was a silly one. You don't need to play an hour on a yellow with Berisha and Broich coming at you.
Lovely footwork from Besart Berisha, hold ing up the ball expertly. He flicks it behind to Steffanuto, who in turn tries to play in Broich, but it's overhit. The red and blacks will be hoping to go into the sheds only one down. They are struggling for possession at the moment.
Corner to the Roar, as the away side start to increase the pressure. Brattan drives it in hard and low, but it just beats North. Ominous signs for the home side here who are coming off second best after an electric start.
Berisha closes the ball down quickly, forcing the Wanderers to play the ball all the way to the back. What a competitor. He may not be everyone's cup of tea, but boy the orange machine will miss him next year.
So, we're about 20 minutes in here, and the game is still very open. The home crowd is getting a little restless, but their team is more than holding their own. They'll have chances - especially with the Roar ball-watching at the back. A silly foul gives the away side a free-kick just inside their half. The two teams are slugging it out in the middle in the period after the goal.
Chance here for the Wanderers, who have a free-kick on the right, just outside the box. Shinji Ono whips a dodgy ball in, low and hard. No white shirt claims it, and it makes its way dangerously across the box, and is finally cleared. Neither team wanted that ball badly enough. Shambles.
#Sydneyisredandblack Come on you Wanderers, Let's peg back three points tonight. #MatteoPoljak pic.twitter.com/zGNMgMF4Sl — The Stickmeister (@Stickyjones1) February 7, 2014
GOAL: It's that man Besart Berisha with a superb finish. D'Apuzzo loses the ball cheaply on halfway, Brisbane counter through Broich. He finds Berisha in the box, who has time to control, adjust, take a touch and finish expertly in the bottom right corner. Broich and Berisha. Devastating.
So, about 12 minutes gone here at Parramatta, and the Wanderers are just about on top. Brisbane are keeping to their gameplan though, still passing to feet and biding their time. They've been here before. There's goals here tonight... 0-0 as it stands.
Wanderers have started superbly. Pressing Roar, giving them no space or time on ball and looking very good going forward — Ray Gatt (@Gatty54) February 7, 2014
This is better from the team in orange and white, who are setting up in the Wanderers' half. Decent freekick is whipped in, but Aaron Mooy gets in front of Matt Smith.
@MaxToovey wanderers are always gonna be up for this too and pressure us early. We'll ease our way in — Daniel Winkler (@dwm92) February 7, 2014
The Roar finally get a foot on the ball and string a few passes together, but the high pressing of the home side pinches the ball back. They are not letting the league leaders get into their rhythm here. Popovic is looking nice and relaxed on his picnic chair.
Excellent fingertip save from Theo from a threatening Shinji Ono deadball. We've got a real six-pointer here tonight, and Tony Popovic's side are here to play.
Great start from the home side, who now have a dangerous looking corner deflected behind. Last touch was a red and black shirt, so Theo can clear his lines with a goalkick.
What a break from Hersi down the right! He rinses the defender, flashes the ball across goal, out of Theo's reach, but Bridge can't quite connect at the far post. What a chance!
KICK-OFF | We're under way in our top of the table battle against Brisbane Roar. Let's take down these pussycats #WSWvBRI — WS Wanderers FC (@wswanderersfc) February 7, 2014
And we're off here at Parramatta Stadium. The home side are attacking right to left. Brisbane have an early free kick from deep, but Brattan curls it into no-man's land, and it goes behind for a goalkick.
TV Live, Fox Sports 1 and SBS 2
Odds Wanderers $2.37, draw $3.25,
Five to watch
1. Youssouf Hersi (Wanderers)
Seems to save his best for the home crowds at Parramatta Stadium.
2. Besart Berisha (Brisbane Roar)
Although Berisha is off to Melbourne Victory at the end of the year, don't expect him to slacken off one bit.
3. Tomi Juric (Wanderers)
Nudged out by Brendon Santalab in the past few weeks for the lone striking role, one senses Juric is closing in on a recall. Even if he comes off the bench, he'll be keen to make a big impact when the ball hits his feet.
4. Michael Theo (Roar)
Infamously on the receiving end of Shinji Ono's chip at Parramatta last season, Theo will be out to make a point this time.
5. Aaron Mooy (Wanderers)
Linked again with a move to Melbourne Heart this week, Mooy's future at the club seems limited. However, he's playing well, and it's a mystery why the Wanderers wouldn't fight harder to keep him.
The key match-up
Shinji Ono (Wanderers) v Luke Brattan ( Roar)
Ono is the fulcrum of everything in attack for the Wanderers, and will need regular tagging from Brattan, who has made the position at the base of the three-man midfield his own. Brattan is also more than capable of starting attacks.