Brisbane Roar is in the Hyundai A-League top six for the first time since round three following a 2-1 win over Wellington Phoenix in tonight’s New Year’s Day clash at Suncorp Stadium.
Both sides were reduced to ten men in the open encounter, teenagers Tyler Boyd (Wellington) and James Donachie (Roar) sent off for two yellow cards, as Brisbane recorded its first back-to-back wins of the campaign.
The Roar’s starting eleven and bench were unchanged from their Boxing Day win over Adelaide United at Hindmarsh Stadium while Wellington Head Coach Ricki Herbert also opted for the same squad that beat Melbourne Heart five days ago.
The home side attacked with purpose from the outset and in particular, Besart Berisha looked eager to find his first goal from open play since November.
The Albanian striker’s perseverance in front of goal paid off within the first quarter hour of play when Thomas Broich put pressure on the Wellington defence just inside their half, winning the ball and playing it through for his teammate.
Berisha cut inside the oncoming defender, striking the ball cleanly with his left foot to hand Brisbane the early advantage.
The Phoenix were not without chances of their own in the first half - youngster Louis Fenton sent a header wide of the post on two occasions – but it took something special for the away team to find an equaliser.
Taking a free-kick quickly, Wellington’s man of the moment Jeremy Brockie found himself in space 25 yards out from goal and unleashed a powerful shot that gave Roar goalkeeper Michael Theo no chance of saving.
While Brisbane weren’t as dominant as the second half began, the men in orange began creating more clear cut chances in front of goal.
Eight minutes in, Halloran cut back the ball for Berisha whose first time shot forced a quick save from Mark Paston in the Wellington goal before the players switched roles on the hour.
This time, after receiving the ball from Broich, Berisha played provider to Halloran, who from the edge of the area, played a clever shot past Paston to reinstate the Roar’s lead.
At 2-1 up, Brisbane seemed likely to hold onto their lead when the Phoenix’s Boyd was sent off three minutes after the goal - the 18-year-old receiving his second yellow card from debutant referee Tim McGilchrist for a foul on Shane Stefanutto.
Broich had a chance to put the game to bed as the 80 minute mark approached, the German midfielder easing his way into space down the left wing and shooting straight at Paston, when the better option might have been to play in one of his oncoming teammates.
The Roar were also reduced to ten men before the match was over, central defender Donachie picking up his second caution late in the half but Brisbane held on for a vital set of three points.
“We created a lot of chances, which was good, but we gave away far too many opportunities for the opposition,” Brisbane Roar Head Coach Mike Mulvey said in his post-match press conference.
“We allowed them back in the game, even though it was a wonder strike, we were asleep at a quick free kick.
“We’ve got a no excuses policy so we’re not going to make any excuses about anything and what I am especially pleased about was that we got the win at the end of the day.
“That’s a testament to the players in the dressing room because they fought it out right until the end.”
Brisbane Roar 2 (Besart BERISHA 14’, Ben HALLORAN 59’)
Wellington Phoenix 1(Jeremy BROCKIE 37’)
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Kick-off: 7:30pm local (8:30pm AEDT)
Referee: Tim McGilchrist
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEO (gk), 2. Matt SMITH (c), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Besart BERISHA, , 10. HENRIQUE (24. Nick FITZGERALD 60’), 11. Ben HALLORAN (4. Matt JURMAN 86'), 15. James DONACHIE, 17. Mitch NICHOLS, 22. Thomas BROICH,
Substitutes not used:8. Massimo MURDOCCA, 20. Matt ACTON (gk)
Yellow cards: James DONACHIE 39’, 85’, Erik PAARTALU 41’, Besart BERISHA 75’
Red cards: James DONACHIE 85’
Wellington Phoenix: 1.Mark PASTON (GK), 2.Manny MUSCAT (6. Alex SMITH 76’), 3.Tony
LOCHHEAD, 7.Leo BERTOS, 11.Jeremy BROCKIE, 12.Tyler BOYD, 16.Louis FENTON (10.Stein HUYSEGEMS 70’), 17.Vince LIA, 18.Ben SIGMUND, 21.Dani SANCHEZ (9.Benjamin TOTORI 68’), 22.Andrew DURANTE (c)
Substitutes not used: 30.Griffin McMaster (gk)
Yellow cards: Tyler BOYD 45+1’, 63’
Red cards: Tyler BOYD 63’