A moment of madness from Western Sydney Wanderers goalkeeper Daniel Margush helped a 10-man Brisbane Roar salvage a 1-1 draw and dent both sides’ Isuzu UTE A-League finals hopes.
The Wanderers looked to be heading for a 1-0 win after a dour game in which their sole strike came courtesy of a Jack Hingert own goal towards the end of the first half.
Brisbane’s hopes of claiming anything from this game looked to be in ruins when captain Tom Aldred was dismissed for a second yellow card with 20 minutes to go.
But the script was flipped on its head in the last minute of regular time when Margush rugby tackled a pressing Alex Parsons as the Wanderers goalkeeper attempted to usher a ball out of play in his own box.
Margush was shown a straight red card and Jay O’Shea buried the penalty past substitute goalkeeper Tomas Mejias in stoppage time.
The result means neither side are likely to feature in the finals given they are both stuck on 21 points and adrift of the group chasing for a spot in the six.
It could have been a lot different had Brisbane’s Cyrus Dehmie buried the best chance of the first half in the opening 60 seconds.
The young Brisbane forward burst into space but was only able to flash a meek effort past Margush’s post.
Western Sydney took time to find their way into the game but when they did it yielded a goal.
James Troisi delivered a no-look pass into Jack Rodwell in the box who crossed and, under the pressure of Bernie Ibini, Hingert turned the ball into his own net.
The Wanderers very nearly had a second when Roar goalkeeper Jordan Holmes batted a Keanu Baccus header off the line from a corner on the stroke of half-time.
Moon sent on forward Luke Ivanovic after the break but his impact did little to threaten the Wanderers’ lead and he missed a gilt-edged chance when he skied a close-range effort over Margush’s bar.
Aldred was dismissed for a cynical foul on Rodwell and then the Roar thought their hopes had died when Parsons had a late attempt chalked off for offside.
But Margush’ brain explosion proved costly with O’Shea stepping up and slotting the penalty to Mejias’ right.
Afterwards, Western Sydney’s Tate Russell could not hide his frustration with the result, which left the Wanderers winless in four matches.
“Frustrating,” man-of-the-match Russell told Paramount+. “I feel like a broken record at this time, especially in a match in which we could’ve had more control going forward and in defence.
“And in a match we definitely felt we could’ve done that. It’s frustrating to come off the back of what could’ve been a win.”
Russell added: “I feel like a broken record. We just have to dig deep, dig our heels in, keep pushing. It’s the best we can do.”
“I think it’s just in terms of the way the boss wants us to play, sometimes it’s coming off for us, sometimes it’s not,” said Russell.
“Maybe some boys are on the same page with others in terms of next passes. For our goal, you can see when it works it works.”