Hyundai A-League - 2012/2013 - Season 8

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Ten-A-Side Tussle Sees Champs Edge Wellington
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 14
7:30pm, Tuesday 1 January, 2013 (NYD)
at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 2
(Besart BERISHA 14’, Ben HALLORAN 59')

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Jeremy BROCKIE 37')

Reigning Hyundai A-League Champions Brisbane Roar edged Wellington Phoenix 2-1 at Suncorp Stadium on New Year’s Day in a rip-roaring tussle which saw the numbers of both teams reduced by players committing two bookable offences.

Indeed, the visitors finished with nine men on the park after Leo Bertos suffered a concussion with Wellington having utilised all their substitutes, but they were fortunate it wasn’t eight - debutant referee Tim McGilchrist didn’t see a 74th minute elbowing episode which Manny Muscat will find more than a little challenging to explain should the post-match Disciplinary Committee cast their eyes on the incident!

As it was, Tyler Boyd (Wellington, after 63 minutes) and James Donachie (Brisbane, five minutes from time) were the two players sent from the field by referee McGilchrist in a match far more noteworthy for the enterprising play of both teams than it was for any incidents towards which the whistle-blower may have contributed.

A lively start unfolded at both ends of the park, Mark Paston saving at the feet of Besart Berisha in the sixth minute after Thomas Broich and Henrique had combined, while Louis Fenton spurned the chance to lob the ball into an empty net two minutes later, Michael Theo having charged out of goal to catch a Tony Lochhead free-kick, only to be beaten to it by Jeremy Brockie.

Brisbane were starting to get into their stride, however, and a tenth minute party-piece saw the ball zipping around the park as one-touch passes from Broich, Henrique and Erik Paartalu prised Wellington apart and played in Berisha, whose shot was parried to safety by Paston.

Wellington retorted with a short corner routine between Lochhead and Dani Sanchez which resulted in the Spaniard evading a couple of challenges before picking out the unmarked Fenton with a measured cross. The youngster guided his glancing header past the far post.

Brisbane opened the scoring in the fourteenth minute, with Broich the architect. He stripped Muscat of possession half-way inside Wellington’s half and instantly slipped the ball to Berisha, foraging through the inside-right channel.

Last season’s Golden Boot winner deftly side-stepped the covering challenge of Ben Sigmund before battering the ball beyond Paston and into the top far corner of the net to give the title-holders the lead.

The visitors sought a swift reply, with Sigmund and Sanchez combining to send Fenton ferreting towards the by-line before he picked out Tyler Boyd with a near post cross.

Matt Smith’s vital challenge blocked this effort, but within seconds, Sanchez had let rip from twenty-five yards with a shot which had Theo at full stretch as it zoomed narrowly past the far post.

Soon after, it was Paston’s turn to be busy again, Wellington’s ‘keeper right behind Ben Halloran’s twenty yard curler before swatting a cross from the same player to safety, with three orange-clad players lining up to cash in beyond him, just seconds after Lochhead had blocked an Henrique shot following an enterprising move featuring Broich, Halloran, Paartalu and Berisha.

After these raids, Brisbane continued to enjoy the majority of possession as they passed the ball around at will. But penetrating Wellington’s rearguard for a second time was another matter entirely - the visitors performed stoutly, and were rewarded for their persistence in sensational fashion eight minutes before half-time.

A quickly taken free-kick by Lochhead found Brockie lurking fifteen yards inside Brisbane’s half. The striker turned onto the ball, set off on a brief run before, from thirty yards, unleashing an exocet into the top far corner of Theo’s net - a stunning equaliser which set up the second half perfectly.

Stunning saves at both ends of the ground marked the opening of the second spell. Halloran made in-roads down the right before picking out Berisha, whose first-time drive was matched by a fine reflex save low to his right by Paston in the 53rd minute.

Seconds later, Sigmund sent Brockie through at the other end of the ground, the striker neatly controlling the ball before unleashing a rising twenty yarder which was tipped round the post in spectacular fashion by Theo, who was right behind Vince Lia’s twenty-five yard effort which came about from the resulting corner.

Brisbane regained the lead in the 59th minute with another fine move. Halloran started it, releasing Broich down the left, with the playmaker taking the ball on before passing it to Berisha.

He held up play nicely before rolling the ball into the stride of Halloran, who rifled the ball home via Paston’s right-hand post from the edge of the area to put Brisbane back in front, 2-1.

Two minutes later, Paston produced a stunning reflex save to keep out an equally spectacular flying hip-turn volley from Mitch Nichols, after he had been picked out by Halloran’s cross ten yards from goal.

Another Halloran cross, in the 64th minute, and seconds after Boyd had headed down the tunnel, flew just over the head of Berisha, while the winger teamed up with Broich to set up substitute Nick Fitzgerald eight minutes later, the newcomer directing his shot straight at Paston.

After Berisha had been harshly booked for protesting vehemently - and with justification aplenty - to referee McGilchrist following Muscat’s elbowing episode, Broich opted to go it alone after finding himself in yards of space on the right-hand side of Wellington’s defence in the 76th minute.

Paston stood firm as Brisbane’s talisman blasted the ball at him from near the by-line, and was again to the fore in the 82nd minute, parrying a low drive from Broich while Bertos lay prone in the penalty area following an accidental clash of heads with Fitzgerald which left the Wellington man decidedly dazed.

After Donachie’s dismissal - his double-footed lunge at Lia could very easily have been a straight red card, Wellington piled on the pressure as they pursued a late equaliser, but Alex Smith’s twenty yarder, which whizzed past Theo’s left-hand post, was all they could muster in their pursuit of parity, Brisbane holding on to leap-frog their beaten rivals on the table and climb into the play-off spots.

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 14
7:30pm, Tuesday 1 January, 2013 (NYD)
at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

Brisbane Roar FC 2
(Besart BERISHA 14’, Ben HALLORAN 59')

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Jeremy BROCKIE 37')

    Crowd: 11,358


    Brisbane Roar FC :
    Player listing:
    . 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 (rgk)

    Coach: Mike Mulvey

    Yellow Cards: James DONACHIE 39’, 85’, Erik PAARTALU 41’, Besart BERISHA 75'
    Red Cards: James DONACHIE 85'

    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    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

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Tyler BOYD 45+1’, 63'
    Red Cards: Tyler BOYD 63'

    Referee: Tim McGilchrist 6/10

    BOTN Player Points:
    > 3. Thomas Broich (BR)
    2. Mark Paston (WP)
    1. Ben Halloran (BR)

    Pitch rating: 5/10

    Game rating: 7/10

    Match report and ratings: By Jeremy Ruane

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