Fire skipper Holmes slotted a free-kick past Roar goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos, a hero in last year’s A-League grand final, to send more than 1300 fans wild at Sunshine Coast Stadium yesterday.
Theoklitos was wrong-footed and could do nothing as he watched the ball sail over the Roar’s defensive wall and into the back of the net late in the first half.
It was the highlight of the friendly encounter, which ended in a 1-all draw after Roar substitute Nick Fitzgerald scored midway through the second half.
Holmes said his goal was lucky but Fire coach Richard Hudson was impressed by how well his team played against the best team in the country.
“We’re the part-timers. We’re the tractor boys and they’re the full-time pros,” he said. “We played really well. To hold a zone against a full-time professional team, we did very well indeed. On a different day we could have got the result. We created a number of chances and they didn’t get behind us."
“It’s early days for them but the respect was there. They put a full complement out in the first half and we took it to them.”
Brisbane started the match with a number of top-line players, including Socceroo Matt McKay, Kosta Barbarouses and Thomas Broich.
They created a number of chances early but seemed apprehensive about shooting.
The Roar’s best opportunity to score came when Ivan Franjic found space, only to go down with a hamstring injury minutes before Holmes opened the Fire’s account.
Sunshine Coast had a chance to make it 2-0 when Jason Hicks streaked away but he chose to ignore the plethora of Fire players in support and go himself. His shot rocketed in the side of the net to leave the Fire with a slender lead at the break.
New Fire recruit Gareth Musson, playing his first match for the club after being released by the Brisbane Strikers, was brought down in the box while trying to finish off a Holmes move, much to the dismay of the Fire supporters.
It took 65 minutes for the Roar to score, with Fitzgerald pouncing on a defensive mistake to bring the visitors level, but neither team could land the winning goal.
Roar coach Ange Postecoglou made 11 substitutions during the match, with not one player from the starting team on the field when the final whistle was blown.
“It was exactly what we wanted. We want to get some competitive games under our belt, so it was good,” Postecoglou said.
“It’s (the score) pretty irrelevant. It’s about getting some progression into the boys. We’ve got four months until the season starts. It was a good test. “Collectively they (the Fire) worked really hard. They’re well organised and have had a good season so far and are doing well in the QSL.”
The Fire will back up tomorrow night to play a friendly against Papua New Guinea’s national team at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
Sunshine Coast Daily, 13 June 2011 - See full article here