Roar win thriller, Fowler's first A-L win

Ed Jackson
Roy O'Donovan (C) has scored three goals in Brisbane's 4-3 comeback A-League win over Melbourne City

Brisbane's wait for goals and a victory under Robbie Fowler have come to a dramatic end with a thrilling 4-3 comeback A-League win over Melbourne City.

In front of a near-capacity 9387 crowd at Dolphin Stadium, north of Brisbane, the Roar came back from a 3-1 deficit to secure their first win of the season in a rip-roaring second-half display.

Irishman Roy O'Donovan scored a hat-trick including two second-half penalties, while strike partner Aaron Amadi-Holloway marked his starting debut for the Roar with the other goal.

The result means top-of-the-table City slip to their first loss of this campaign, despite Socceroos striker Jamie Maclaren marking his return from a hamstring injury with a hat-trick of his own.

City took an early lead when Maclaren made the most of a missed clearance by Roar captain Tom Aldred to pounce in the sixth minute.

The Roar were left livid when O'Donovan thought he'd been up-ended by City's Harrison Delbridge on the quarter-hour in the penalty area but their pleas fell on deaf ears.

Fowler must have been cursing his luck when, in the 29th minute, Maclaren leapt over Roar defender Daniel Bowles to put the visitors 2-0 up.

A tactical switch meant Fowler removed Jake McGing before halftime and Bowles also came off at the break.

The Roar went to three at the back and made the most of a strong breeze to turn the match on its head.

O'Donovan's 50th-minute strike ended a three-and-a-half match goal drought for the Roar, before Maclaren completed his hat-trick moments later to restore City's two-goal lead.

Amadi-Holloway's scrambled back-post effort in the 60th minute pulled the Roar back to within one.

O'Donovan converted from the spot to put the Roar level in the 63rd minute after Amadi-Holloway was tripped.

Brisbane must have felt they would have to settle for a point after a cross by Aldred drifted past City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis and hit the far post, seeming to cross the line before Bouzanis clawed it away.

The lack of goalline technology might have saved City on that occasion but, just minutes later, VAR official Craig Zetter called referee Alex King to have a look at a shot blocked by City substitute Denis Genreau.

King ruled the block to be a handball and O'Donovan slotted away the winner from the spot to secure his hat-trick.

"If you didn't know that our team and our players have got character, I think we've shown it in abundance with that second-half performance," Fowler said.

"I thought we were quite incredible. To score four goals against the league leaders ... it sure shows you that we've got a little bit about us."

Deflated City coach Erick Mombaerts said he had not seen the decisive penalty call but, regardless, believed his team should have done better to see out the match with a 3-1 lead.

"We need to be stronger ... it is the first game we have to play like that - maybe it is also a good experience," the Frenchman said.

"We have to understand and to find a solution in these kinds of games."

The Roar head to Wellington next week to face the winless Phoenix, while City face Western Sydney at Bankwest Stadium.