By AARON KELLY
THE Queensland Roar arrived in force, but Central Queensland soccer was the real winner at Rockhampton's Ryan Park on Saturday night.
Playing before a crowd of 700 fans, the Roar continued their unbeaten lead-up to this year's ALeague with a 3-1 victory against a gallant Frenchville Sports Club invitational team.
Goals in the last 15 minutes from Michael Baird, Royce Brownlie and Jonti Richter helped save the A-League giants from a shock defeat.
A huge upset was on the cards when reserve Lee Veenhoven gave the home side a 1-0 lead mid-way through the second half.
Only in the game for five minutes, the BITS player turned the ball inside and slid the ball past Roar goalkeeper Tom Willis.
The goal sparked the Roar into attack and Baird slotted home the equaliser minutes later before his strike partner Brownlie pounced on a mix-up between impressive Frenchville goalkeeper Ben Blacker and defender Masa Taki to score.
Richter sealed victory when he blasted home the winner from the edge of the area in the dying stages.
In the earlier game, the Roar ran out emphatic 11-0 winners against Frenchville, with Rockhampton's Dane Howard scoring twice for the A-League side.
Roar coach Miron Bleiberg said it was an unbalanced performance, but ultimately superior fitness and experience was the difference.
"Our first team made us look like Real Madrid,'' Bleiberg said.
"It was good soccer and we played how we should. The second game was good for the local crowd.''
Frenchville goalscorer Veenhoven said it was the "best moment of my soccer career'' after his second half piece of magic.
"This is the biggest crowd I've ever played in front of,'' Veenhoven said.
Capricorn Coast goal-scoring machine Scott Woodford, who was impressive playing out wide for the Roar, and Blacker were just two players to catch the eye of Roar coaching staff and have been invited to train with the Brisbane club at the end of the season.
The Roar now turn their attention to next month's FIFA Club World Championship Australian qualifying tournament clash against Sydney FC while Rockhampton will play host to another A-League team the Central Coast Mariners on Saturday night.