Brisbane Roar have stretched their unbeaten run at Suncorp Stadium to 20 matches and edged closer to the all-time Australian unbeaten record of 35 matches with a 1-1 draw with Wellington Phoenix.
The two sides observed a minute’s silence in honour of Remembrance Day prior to kick-off before Besart Berisha’s early header was cancelled out by Tim Brown’s strike as Brisbane were frustrated in front of goal for the second week in a row.
Brisbane made just one change to the side that drew 2-2 with Melbourne Victory last time out, with Issey Nakajima-Farran replacing Mitch Nichols, who was away on Qantas Socceroos duty.
Head Coach Ange Postecoglou shifted Thomas Broich into Nichols’ attacking midfield position with Nakajima-Farran starting in the Roar’s three-pronged attack alongside Berisha and Henrique, who had already scored a combined nine goals between them this season.
It was the little Brazilian that looked to exploit the space in the left wing early in the contest, firing a quick shot from inside the box after a one-two with Broich.
Phoenix ‘keeper Tony Warner’s comfortable and composed claim of the ball showed Brisbane would have to work hard if they wanted to claim the three points in front of their lively home fans.
After 11 minutes of play, the home side won a free-kick in dangerous territory when Broich was fouled near the edge of the box.
Berisha rose highest to meet the pinpoint cross from Broich, burying the header past Warner to score his seventh goal in six games, handing Brisbane the early advantage.
The Albanian striker almost had his second just moments later after an impressive through-ball from central defender Matt Jurman, but he was adjudged to be offside in the eyes of the assistant referee.
Brisbane had a golden chance to double their lead on the half hour mark after a well-placed ball found Henrique in space again down the left-hand side of the pitch.
The zippy winger was quick to unleash a powerful strike which was parried away by Warner and the ball fell to the feet of Nakajima-Farran, whose effort bounced unluckily off the woodwork.
Postecoglou’s men were made to rue that missed chance six minutes later when, against the run of play, Wellington found an equaliser through Tim Brown.
Leo Bertos’ curling cross opened the door for Nick Ward to tee up Brown inside the box, allowing Brown to place the ball past Roar ‘keeper Michael Theoklitos to celebrate his 100th Hyundai A-League appearance with a goal.
The second half started in the same fashion as the first with the Phoenix looking to physically exert themselves while Brisbane were content to play their strong, possession game across the park.
The match wore into a frustrating period for the home side but defender Ivan Franjic’s constant menace down the right flank and substitute Kofi Danning’s electrifying pace on the ball gave the Roar confidence pressing up the field.
On the back of another swift attacking move from Brisbane which included Franjic, Danning and Berisha, Broich was close to finding Brisbane’s second in the 67th minute, his shot goal bound if not for the timely clearance from Wellington defender Muscat.
Substitute Luke Brattan tried his luck from distance, forcing Warner into another reactive save, before Danning missed a clear-cut opportunity from five metres out but it was Nakajima-Farran who failed to convert the most gilt-edged of chances with ten minutes left to play.
Another forceful shot from Danning was sprayed into the path of the Canadian international, who should’ve done better with the gaping goal in clear sight.
Almost five minutes of extra time saw Brisbane edge closer to that elusive second goal, but despite their best efforts, the match ended on level terms.
Coach Postecoglou conceded his side were unlucky on the night but couldn’t fault the performance of his players.
“We certainly created enough chances tonight to win this game of football,” he said.
“There were times tonight we played our best football of the year I thought and we created opportunities, we just didn’t take them.
“When we played Adelaide, every one of them went in and tonight they didn’t but credit to them, they played well and their ‘keeper pulled off a couple of good saves.
“Aside from that, we created a couple of very god opportunities but the boys tried hard enough, we stuck to our structures and we were disciplined and we just didn’t get our reward tonight.
“Sometimes you don’t get the reward, you do everything right and you don’t and that’s fine.”
Brisbane Roar 1 (Besart BERISHA 11’)
Wellington Phoenix 1(Tim BROWN 36’)
Sunday, 13 November 2011
Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Referee: Jarred Gillett
Crowd: 16, 428
Brisbane Roar: 1. Michael THEOKLITOS (gk), 2. Matt SMITH (c), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 4. Matt JURMAN, 5. Ivan FRANJIC, 6. Erik PAARTALU, 7. Besart BERISHA, 8. Massimo MURDOCCA (18. Luke BRATTAN 66’), 10. HENRIQUE (9. Kofi DANNING 60’), 11. Issey NAKAJIMA-FARRAN, 22. Thomas BROICH
Substitutes Not Used: , 16. Mohamed ADNAN, 30. Matthew ACTON
Yellow cards: Ivan FRANJIC 63’
Red cards: Nil
Wellington Phoenix: 2. Emmanuel MUSCAT, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 6. Tim BROWN, 7. Leo BERTOS, 9. Chris GREENACRE, 11. Daniel CORTES (13. Nikolas TSATTALIOS), 12. Nicholas WARD, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 20. Anthony WARNER (gk), 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 24. Alexander SMITH
Substitutes Not Used: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 4. Brent GRIFFITHS, 21. Daniel SANCHEZ
Yellow cards: Nicholas WARD 20’, Emmanuel MUSCAT 26’, Alex SMITH 54’
Red cards: Nil