Hyundai A-League - 2011/2012 - Season 7

Wellington inflict third straight defeat on leaders
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 11
7:30pm, Wednesday 14 December, 2011
at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 2
(Paul Ifill 8’, Nick Ward 82')

Brisbane Roar FC 0

(linked from FFA web site)

Wellington Phoenix inflicted a third successive Hyundai A-League defeat on reigning champions Brisbane Roar at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium on 14 December 14 - 4,628 fans rejoicing as the home team prevailed 2-0 to climb to fourth place on the table.

As is their wont, Brisbane set out their stall straight from the kick-off, and within three minutes had given Wellington plenty of cause for concern, Rocky Visconte and Issey Nakajima-Farran working a one-two on the edge of the penalty area which culminated in the former firing a low cross across the face of goal.

The league’s leading scorer, Besart Berisha, was nowhere to be seen, however, and he remained largely anonymous throughout the entire match, thanks to the sterling efforts of Wellington’s central defensive dynamos Andrew Durante and Ben Sigmund, who marshalled the troops superbly to ensure that sniffs of goal by the visitors were few and far between throughout proceedings.

Brisbane did enjoy a couple of those sniffs just before the quarter-hour mark. Sigmund thwarted Berisha with a timely headed clearance at the near post after Erik Paartalu and Ivan Franjic had featured in another mesmerising passing move, while Berisha’s touch let him down soon after, following an interchange of passes featuring Visconte and Nakajima-Farran.

Visconte then failed to pull the trigger in the penalty area after Paartalu had played in the overlapping Shane Stefanutto down the left, and he had picked out the midfielder with a low cross.

Durante rode his luck in the sixteenth minute when, under pressure from Kofi Danning, he directed a back-pass towards Tony Warner which only just reached the ‘keeper before the prowling figure of Berisha could pounce.

Wellington’s captain’s next intervention was of a more positive nature, intercepting a Brisbane pass to send Paul Ifill surging forward. He played the ball on for Nick Ward, whose progress was thwarted by Matt Jurman’s timely tackle in the twentieth minute.

The same combination undid Brisbane seven minutes later. This time, it was Ward who was responsible for the interception, as the visitors’ passing game slowly but surely grew a little more ragged in the face of their hosts’ stubborn resistance.

Ward instantly played the ball forward, and Ifill was onto it in an instant. Jurman was back-pedalling this way and that as Wellington’s talisman tore towards goal, and there was no stopping him as he entered the penalty area. Ifill promptly rifled a shot which deflected off the leg of Jurman and soared into the top far corner of Michael Theoklitos’ net, the ‘keeper beaten all ends up by the deviation in the ball’s flight.

Cue delight among the decidedly disappointing crowd, Wellington’s lowest home attendance since November 2009. Not to mention a subtle increase in pressure on the league leaders, who, having lost their last two games, were now staring at a potential third straight defeat, something which seemed decidedly unlikely this time last month!

Warner calmly dealt with a tame effort from Nakajima-Farran after he had done all the hard work by wriggling through four challenges, while a fifteen yarder from the well-performed Mitch Nichols cleared the crossbar ten minutes before half-time after he had sparked a move which also featured Franjic.

On the stroke of half-time, there were chances at both ends of the pitch. Jurman thwarted a fine Manny Muscat raid at the expense of a corner, which Leo Bertos fired into the danger zone. Sigmund saw his shot cannon off a defender straight to Ward, whose sliced effort ricocheted off team-mate Brent Griffiths and past the far post.

From Theoklitos’ resulting goal-kick, Brisbane earned a free-kick which would result in the last act of the half. Nichols’ delivery to the far post was met by the head of Jurman, but past the post the ball flew, ensuring Wellington’s one-goal advantage would remain intact throughout the interval.

And well beyond it, as things panned out, despite Brisbane’s best efforts to turn the game around. They continued to enjoy possession aplenty, but offered little in the way of penetration, with the efforts of Durante and Sigmund ensuring Warner enjoyed a fairly comfortable evening twixt the sticks.

He was called upon in the 49th minute, however, saving well to his right to deny Mohamed Adnan’s header from a Berisha corner. And Nakajima-Farran had reason to groan at the goalkeeper’s intervention five minutes later, his goalbound twenty-yarder being thwarted moments after the striker just failed to get on the end of a Franjic cross which was the culmination of a wonderfully worked move around the edge of Wellington’s penalty area.

The home team were looking to exploit Brisbane on the counter-attack, and came close to doubling their advantage via this means in the 58th minute. Bertos buccaneered down the left before picking out Brown with a cross which the midfielder sent goalwards.

Theoklitos tipped this dipping effort over the crossbar, and got his angles right nine minutes later to deny Bertos, after he had raced through Brisbane’s defence upon receipt of a pass from Vince Lia, who had broken up a passing move by the visitors, something which was becoming increasingly common as the game wore on.

Brisbane turned to their bench to provide some variety, while Ifill gave Wellington cause for concern by, having only just returned from a groin injury, appearing to tweak the problem once again twenty minutes from time.

He hobbled along over the course of the next ten minutes before, upon receiving a clearance from Sigmund, producing an absolute peach of a pass over the Brisbane defence which rewarded Ward’s perfectly timed run from deep - an aspect of the game of which Wellington invariably runs foul several times during the course of a match.

But not on this occasion. Ward found himself through with just Theoklitos to beat, and he calmly waited for the ‘keeper to make the first move before sweeping the ball past him and into the bottom right-hand corner of the net - 2-0 Wellington, and surely no way back now for Brisbane.

So it proved, although they came close to halving the deficit in the remaining minutes. Berisha curled a free-kick inches past the far post from just outside the penalty area, while the same player was thwarted by the massed ranks of Wellington defenders seconds before Warner turned a twenty yarder from Franjic round the post.

A slick stoppage time move featuring Nichols and Franjic culminated in substitute Jack Hingert unleashing a first-time shot past the near post, but the game was up for the injury-hit league leaders, whose third successive defeat came from a team which has moved into a share of third spot on the back of this deserved victory.

2011/2012 Hyundai A-League - Round 11
7:30pm, Wednesday 14 December, 2011
at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 2
(Paul Ifill 8’, Nick Ward 82')

Brisbane Roar FC 0

    Crowd: 4,628


    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    20 Tony Warner (gk), 2. Manny Muscat, 4. Brent Griffiths 6. Tim Brown, 7. Leo Bertos, 8. Paul Ifill (24. Alex Smith +81’), 9. Chris Greenacre, 12. Nicky Ward, 17. Vince Lia, 18. Ben Sigmund, 22. Andrew Durante (c)

    Substitutes not used: 1. Mark Paston (rgk), 11. Daniel, 15. Cameron Lindsay

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Nil
    Red Cards: Nil

    Brisbane Roar FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Michael Theoklitos (gk), 3. Shane Stefanutto (c), 4. Matt Jurman , 5. Ivan Franjic, 6. Erik Paaratlu, 7. Besart Berisha, 9. Kofi Danning (8. Massimo Murdocca +64’), 11. Issey Nakajima-Farran (24. Nick Fitzgerald +77’), 14. Rocky Visconte (19. Jack Hingert +77’), 16. Mohamed Adnan, 17. Mitch Nichols

    Substitutes not used: 20. Andrew Redmayne (rgk)

    Coach: Ange Postecoglou

    Yellow Cards: Matt Jurman 8’, Mitch Nichols 80'
    Red Cards:Nil

    Referee: Gerard Parsons 7/10
    Assistants: tba; Fourth Official: tba

    BOTN Player Points:
    > 3. Paul Ifill (WP)
    2. Ben Sigmund (WP)
    1. Andrew Durante (WP)

    Pitch rating: 7/10

    Game rating: 5/10

    Match Report and ratings: By Jeremy Ruane

Disclaimer: The content of this report is the responsibility of the writer. Stats are either as recorded by the writer at the game, or as supplied by FFA, or a mixture - no responsibility can be taken for their compete accuracy although we do strive for that. Any photos used here, unless attributed, are as implicitly supplied by FFA and used by assumed permission.

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