Western Sydney Wanderers stunned champions Brisbane Roar to claim a deserved 1-0 victory at Suncorp Stadium.
Western Sydney Wanderers have broken through for their maiden win, a famous 1-0 triumph over Brisbane Roar at the home of the defending Hyundai A-League champions.
Confounding their rank outsider status, the competition’s new kids were on the front foot from the first whistle and were always one step ahead of the Roar, who looked completely out of ideas.
Mark Bridge etched his name in history by scoring the first goal in Wanderers history, nodding in a 19th-minute cross from the impressive Youssouf Hersi.
Supplied by a Shinji Ono short corner, Hersi was completely unmarked on the left and had all the time in the world to craft the perfect ball for Bridge, who wheeled away in celebration in front of 12,663 orange-clad fans.
The A-League journeyman’s goal ended Western Sydney’s scoreless run at 288 minutes – although it could have been over as early as three minutes into the match, when Aaron Mooy lashed a shot that beat Michael Theo but not the two uprights.
With the monkey off the back, the Wanderers pushed on unencumbered and produced easily their performance to date.
Tony Popovic’s men completely dominated the first 45 minutes. They were compact, disciplined and looked to close down Brisbane at every opportunity.
The Roar should have enjoyed the rainy conditions at Suncorp Stadium but their usual passing game was continually thwarted by a hungry Western Sydney outfit.
In contrast to their last performance at home – the 5-0 win over Melbourne Victory in the second round of matches – Brisbane were completely off the boil.
Their best chance of the opening half was Mitch Nichols’ thundering 38th-minute drive, which smacked into the far post from a difficult angle.
Exciting youngster Ben Halloran was silenced, while Thomas Broich and Besart Berisha had little influence.
At the other end, young striker Joey Gibbs made his Wanderers debut in his second match at A-League level – his first was the 2009/10 Grand Final, when he ran on as a late substitute for Sydney FC.
In the side for the injured Dino Kresinger, Gibbs’ hold-up play was the perfect conduit for energetic midfield trio Ono, Hersi and Mooy.
With Brisbane continuing to stumble into Western Sydney roadblocks, Rado Vidosic sent in Henrique for Massimo Murdocca just before the hour mark, shifting Broich into a central position.
That move helped bring the German maestro into the game, but it also left the Roar vulnerable on the counter attack.
Hersi nearly made it 2-0 in the 75th minute, letting rip with a cracking volley that seemed destined for the top-left corner until a flying Theo pulled off a stunning save.
Brisbane continued their search for an equaliser but could not find a way through the stubborn Wanderers, with their faltering evening summed up perfectly by Broich’s 81st-minute shot, which blazed well over the bar.
They went close from an injury-time corner but the excellent Nikolai Topor-Stanley hacked a shot off the line to ensure the three points – and the clean sheet.
Bet365.com Man of the Match: Mark Bridge The forward has come under some criticism in recent weeks but his work-rate and goal in this game proved his worth to the Wanderers.
Western Sydney Wanderers 1 (Bridge 19)
Brisbane Roar 0
Crowd: 12,663 @Suncorp Stadium