Late Hecher stunner seals three points for Roar in five-goal thriller against City
Mariel Hecher proved the hero for Brisbane Roar with a stunning goal which decided her side's 3-2 win over Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Saturday afternoon.
The Roar held a two-goal lead at half-time and saw that advantage slashed by City in the second stanza but, after all their hard work to draw level, City's parity lasted just two minutes as Hecher popped up to score a memorable winning goal for the visitors.
Brisbane filled their boots last week with a 6-0 win over Melbourne Victory and continued in the same vein in the first half against City. Clare Polkinghorne scored first from a towering header to put the visitors in front before Emily Gielnik converted from the spot to give Brisbane a two-goal lead on the half-hour mark.
The two goals were just reward for a rampant Brisbane outfit but it could have been much worse for the hosts at half-time if not for the sublime goalkeeping work of City shot-stopper Teagan Micah, who made a string of highlight saves to keep Gielnik and Tameka Yallop from scoring at will.
Brisbane goalkeeper Georgina Worth was not without her own stand-out moments in the first half; Chinatsu Kira was an offensive threat for City in the opening stanza and the Japanese forward kept Worth on her toes with a number of first-half shots on goal.
As the second half began, chaos ensued. Just one minute after the break, an opportunistic shot from Alex Chidiac deflected off Polkinghorne's back and into the net, before Samantha Johnson converted a City penalty after Olivia Chance fouled Chidiac to level the scores with a quarter of an hour to play.
With their backs to the wall and a rampant City sniffing a come-from-behind win, Brisbane looked in a world of trouble, but Brazilian striker Hecher had other plans for the full-time result.
The forward was unsighted for large parts of the contest but made her presence felt with a thundering strike which found the back of the net, off the post, to give Brisbane a 3-2 lead just two minutes after City had drawn level.
After wrestling back the advantage in eye-catching style, Brisbane dug deeper than they had throughout the opening stages of the second half to ensure they kept City out for good, clinging onto a memorable win in an entertaining contest.
City threatened first early in the contest, with defender Jenna McCormick appealing for a penalty after Gielnik appeared to pull her down clumsily in the box, but no call was given and play continued.
A quiet opening 20 minutes was to follow until Brisbane pierced City's defensive line for the first time; Yallop fed Gielnik who made a run toward goal but Micah was out quickly to snuff out the danger.
The visitors then took the lead through Polkinghorne. The centre-back went forward for a Roar corner routine and rose highest between McCormick and Rhali Dobson to head a forceful attempt on goal, which flew past Micah and into the net, handing the hosts the lead.
Brisbane proceeded to enjoy a period applying considerable pressure to City's defence, ultimately producing a second goal just seven minutes later.
This time the goal came from the penalty spot, after Samantha Johnson handled the ball in the box. Gielnik stepped forward and sent Micah the wrong way as she placed her strike into the right side netting.
Confidence was building for Gielnik as she continued to fill her boots after scoring a brace against Melbourne Victory in Round 5.
The Westfield Matildas attacker continued to probe around City's defensive box, failing to register a headed attempt from a dangerous position in the centre of the penalty area before curling a vicious strike toward the top-right corner, which Micah saved with athleticism.
Just moments later, City had transitioned from defence to attack and the dangerous Kira was in on goal. Her resulting shot was precisely aimed across the box toward the far right corner but Worth matched Micah's magnificent glove work with a save of her own of the highest order.
Gielnik and Dobson dispatched respective shots off each goal's crosssbar in the dying embers of the first half as a truly entertaining opening stanza came to its conclusion.
The second half began much like the first had ended with drama aplenty, but unlike the first period, it was City finding the back of the net with a goal signalling the instant intent of Rado Vidosic's side to come back into the contest.
Just one minute after the break, Alex Chidiac scored City's first of the game. The chance came thanks to an interception from Kira deep in City attack after an errant pass out from the back by Worth.
The ball fell to Chidiac who shot off the back of Polkinghorne, with the deflected attempt stumping Worth in goal and drifting into the back of the net.
City were a different prospect in the second stanza. The hosts pressed for an equaliser and Kira could have provided one with ease had she finished the well-worked team move sparked by substitute Tori Tumeth but Worth was once again up to the challenge of thwarting the City attacker with a smothering block.
But City's frustrations weren't to last long; a penalty was awarded to the Champions when Chidiac went down after contact from Chance and Johnson stepped up to the spot. The defender gave away a first-half penalty to the Roar but made amends by smashing her own attempt into the back of the net to level the scores.
City's gear shift was evident as Brisbane looked to squirm under the pressure, and Kira once again found herself with another fantastic opportunity.
That chance was once again thwarted by Worth's goalkeeping prowess; the rebound fell to Tyla-Jay Vlajnic but her resulting shot was high.
The wasted opportunity to go ahead would ultimately prove costly for the Champions. Hecher, who had not threatened City's goal throughout the contest, popped up on the right flank, driving a fantastic right-footed strike across goal, off the post and into the back of the net to give Brisbane a 3-2 lead in stunning fashion.