Not so drawsome: Roar continue to search for reinforcements as they’re held again by Western United

Brisbane Roar doesn’t really lose football matches at the moment. It’s just not their vibe. Of course, coach Warren Moon’s side doesn’t exactly win that many of them either, which serves to harsh the vibe somewhat. Talks, however, are already underway with what the club hopes are potential solutions.

The Roar recorded their sixth draw of the 2022/23 season on Friday evening at AAMI Park, heading down to Melbourne and being forced to settle for a 1-1 stalemate after Carlo Armiento’s first-half pearler was wiped away by Aleks Projiovic’s second-half header. 

While losing just a single game this season, Roar’s inability to turn any of their numerous ties instead into additions to their tally of two wins has resulted in them sitting in the sixth position on the A-League Men table a third of the way through the campaign; three points adrift of second-placed Western Sydney Wanderers but, simultaneously, just two clear of eleventh-placed Sydney.

While Armiento’s strike was one of the better-worked goals you’ll see in a footballing match, it stood in stark contrast to the rest of Roar’s attacking output throughout the 90 minutes; with just three of their sixteen attempts on target and just one – Armiento’s 28th-minute strike – was from inside the penalty area. 

Despite Roar’s laboriousness in attack, however, United didn’t provide much in the way of an electric counterpoint up the other end and, based on the balance of play, the visitors justly felt disappointed with themselves that coach John Aloisi’s second-half injection of young and pacey talent allowed the defending champions to find a leveller and push for a later winner. 

“Our undefeated run continues,” Roar coach Warren Moon said post-game. “But we’re really disappointed because I felt the game was there for the taking for us tonight. We were in control in the first half and probably could have been out of sight before their equaliser.

“So yeah, probably an overall feeling of disappointment.

“Chances were there for us to win the game. We didn’t and we’re disappointed. So we’ll keep working hard, we’ll keep focusing on the positives – defensively strong again, didn’t give up many chances tonight and we’ll try to be better in front of goal. That’s every week; we try to create more, score more, so we can stop talking about the draws and the lack of finishing.”

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It goes without saying, of course, that seven games without defeat is nothing to sneeze at. It’s certainly better than seven-straight defeats. 

And while they have at times been a chore to watch this season going forward, Roar’s strong defence – their seven goals conceded in nine games the second-best mark in the league behind only Melbourne City – does provide a solid foundation to build upon. 

As demonstrated by Western themselves just a season ago, you only need to be better than your opponents on the day to rack up the wins and move up the table. And with the league as a whole largely marked by its team’s inability to break down packed defences no matter how much possession they have, being able to grab a goal to sit back and defend can be a ticket to success. 

But first, you have to figure out a way, and a player, that can grab you that goal to defend. 

Coming into the season, that was supposed to be former Premier League striker Charlie Austin but, with the 33-year-old having mutually terminated his contract and returned to the UK for family reasons, a new, reliable solution is needed. 

“We know that we need to replace Charlie Austin,” said Moon. “That’s first and foremost  – we need a striker to come in during the January transfer window. 

“We’re working hard to find that person and that’s one thing we need to do. We need to add a couple more players too. We’ve had a couple go out the door, so we need to build a bit more depth and quality to the squad. 

“I think it’s fair to say we’re engaging in some talks with some options that we have. We’ve been looking for a while now. So whilst publicly Charlie left a couple of weeks ago, we’ve known for a few more weeks before that. 

“We’ve been on the front foot trying to make sure we find a suitable replacement.”

Aloisi, in contrast, is much more comfortable with his squad heading into the January transfer window, albeit he acknowledges that one can never be certain when it comes to the twists and turns that is football’s silly season. 

“It depends on what comes along, if the salary cap permits,” said Aloisi. “It’s hard to say. We’re happy with our group, we’re really happy with the group but there could be injuries, there could be players out for longer periods so then you might have to go into the transfer market. But we’re really happy with the group and the younger players coming through are showing good signs. 

Taking the field just days after overcoming a 60-minute one-man deficit to defeat Melbourne Victory 1-0 on Boxing Day, his side struggled to get much of anything going against the Queenslanders. 

That was, at least, until the second-half introduction of Nicolas Milanovic, Noah Botic, Rhys Bozinovski, and Dylan Pierias helped to spark the side and, when Josh Risdon picked out Prijovic in the penalty area, find a leveller. 

“Pleased with the result because, of course, you go into every game wanting to win and get three points. But we knew it was going to be hard, especially the first half; backing up five days later,” Aloisi said. 

“We felt that we were going to be, I didn’t say it to the players, but I could see that we weren’t going to be at our best in the first half. And then once you start to make changes they give energy, and you can get energy from those changes. 

“And then in the second half, we created chances. We could have snatched it at the end. It wasn’t our best performance, we know that. We weren’t as good as we have been but it was a good point. Seven [points] from nine [available] in the last three games is pretty good going.”

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You’re seeing this advert because this is an unpaid, self-published piece.

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Header Image Credit: Brisbane Roar

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