Hyundai A-League - 2012/2013 - Season 8

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Brisbane Prevail In Battle Of Cellar-Dwellers
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 21
4pm, Sunday 17 February, 2013
at Suncorp Stadium

Brisbane Roar FC 2
(Steven Lustica 33’, Besart Berisha 49')

Wellington Phoenix FC 0 ')

Reigning Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar gave their play-off chances a timely boost at Suncorp Stadium on February 17, seeing off bottom-placed Wellington Phoenix 2-0 to climb from ninth to seventh on the table, two points off the all-important sixth and last qualifying spot.

It may have been a different story, however, had the visitors’ eighth minute goal been allowed to stand. New signing Corey Gameiro got on the end of a Tony Lochhead cross and headed home at the second attempt, but in racing forward to meet the cross, the debutant fouled Jade North, an incident spotted by an alert referee’s assistant, who relayed the information to referee Allan Milliner.

The whistle-blower curtailed Gameiro’s celebrations, which was the first threat on goal either side was to muster during an opening ten minutes which saw Brisbane dominating possession on a pitch which has been ruined by oval ball code activity.

Discerning eyes among the 9,282-strong crowd wouldn’t have taken long to see why both teams in this battle of the cellar-dwellers were where they are on the table, and those erratic elements were often evident throughout a first half which rarely rose to great heights.

Brisbane’s Ben Halloran’s hesitance, allied to recalled Wellington goalkeeper Glen Moss, prevented him from opening the scoring in the fourteenth minute, to which the visitors responded with a Paul Ifill-led counter-attack which Tyler Boyd was only prevented from capitalising upon by Luke Brattan’s timely interception.

After Andrew Durante had stepped in to thwart the progress of Besart Berisha in Wellington’s penalty area, a rasping 25th minute drive from Gameiro brought the best out of Michael Theo, who was to produce another fine save nine minutes later when diving to his left to divert a Louis Fenton drive round the post.

A mere sixty seconds prior to that effort, Brisbane had opened the scoring, and Wellington only had themselves to blame. Visiting defenders stood off Halloran as if he had some sort of contagious disease when he gathered possession on the right in the 33rd minute.

The winger was allowed to drift across field virtually unchallenged until he brought Thomas Broich into play, an action which prompted Shane Steffanutto to go scampering round the playmaker on the overlap.

A measured pass into the fullback’s stride allowed him to get to the by-line before he pulled the ball back into the path of Steven Lustica, who angled a shot across the diving figure of Moss and into the far corner of the net to open the scoring.

Brisbane threatened to double their advantage soon after, but Moss was alert to the danger posed by the goalscorer as he looked to latch onto Broich’s through ball, while at the other end of the park three minutes before half-time, Theo produced another smothering save to prevent Gameiro from levelling the scores, after the striker had been picked out by Fenton’s angled pass.

Brisbane squandered a glorious chance to double their lead two minutes into the second half. Brattan and Halloran combined to send Lustica storming clear on the right. Once he got inside Wellington’s penalty area, however, the goalscorer got the speed wobbles, much to the relief of Durante, who calmly stripped him of possession.

That calm authority was replaced by filthy looks two minutes later, as Wellington’s captain gave Dani Sanchez daggers for an awful error which put the visitors further behind on the scoreboard.

The midfielder had come on as a first half substitute for the injured Isaka Cernak, and it was Sanchez’s wayward pass just twenty-five yards from his own goal which presented Brattan with the chance to send Berisha charging through Wellington’s rearguard. Moss and co stood not a prayer - bottom corner, 2-0, and the visitors facing another mountaineering expedition in the middle of a football match.

They set about their latest attempt to conquer another steep slope with gusto. Just four minutes after the goal, Fenton swooped on a stray pass from Jack Hingert and linked with Gameiro to present Tyler Boyd with a chance. His stinging twenty-yarder bounced in front of Theo, forcing the ’keeper to fumble the ball round the post in rather awkward fashion.

After Broich had narrowly sent a volley on the turn over the bar in the 62nd minute, a super tackle by North denied Wellington substitute Stein Huysegems in the act of shooting, after the newcomer - he had entered the fray at Ifill’s expense just three minutes prior - had benefited from an interchange between Boyd and Gameiro.

Seconds later, Manny Muscat and Sanchez combined on the left via a one-two, which saw the Maltese international jink inside before clipping a delightfully weighted cross to the far post, where Boyd was arriving on cue. Sadly for the youngster, he guided his glancing header inches past the post - a golden chance which, had it gone in, would have set up a barnstorming finale.

Instead, Wellington continued their quest to halve the deficit. Sanchez sent a looping header onto the roof of the net, to which Halloran responded with a violent volley which vanished over the bar, after Hingert and Murdocca had combined to set up their team-mate.

Brisbane substitute Stefan Nijland then spurned a fine chance to put the home team three goals up, pulling his shot past the near post after Broich had exploited a Wellington rearguard which was all at sea after conceding possession inside their own half yet again.

After Muscat had sent a drive flying past the post following a Fenton-led raid eleven minutes from time, Brisbane countered with a vibrant raid, Brattan’s ball over the top releasing substitute Corey Brown down the left.

Moss came hurtling out of goal, but the youngster raced round the stranded custodian, only to find himself on such an acute angle to the target that a cross was his only option. Nijland was his target, but he was unable to control the ball, much to the relief of Durante, who mopped up once more.

Wellington threw everything they could muster at Brisbane in the last ten minutes, but Theo foiled their efforts. In the 84th minute, the ‘keeper advanced outside his penalty area to head clear Vince Lia’s lofted ball forward, only for Gameiro to latch onto the sphere.

But the recovering goalkeeper was able to direct his shot to safety with his legs, while, six minutes later, Theo looked on with relief as Fenton’s low drive crept past his left-hand post, an effort which proved to be the visitors’ last.

The game’s final act was still to come, however. In stoppage time, Nijland got on the end of Steffanutto’s ball forward and jinked inside a defender before letting fly from twenty yards.

Moss turned the ball round the post to repel Brisbane on this occasion, but the home team had done enough to keep their trans-Tasman rivals in last place on the league ladder, leaving Wellington six points adrift of the play-off spots with six rounds remaining, and their hopes of extending their season into April fast diminishing.

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 21
4pm, Sunday 17 February, 2013
at Suncorp Stadium

Brisbane Roar FC 2
(Steven Lustica 33’, Besart Berisha 49')

Wellington Phoenix FC 0

    Crowd: 9,282


    Brisbane Roar FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Michael THEO (gk), 3. Shane STEFANUTTO, 7. Besart BERISHA (29. Kwame YEBOAH 90’), 8. Massimo MURDOCCA (9. Stef NIJLAND 73’), 11. Ben HALLORAN, 13. Jade NORTH (26. Corey BROWN 78’), 14. Steven LUSTICA, 15. James DONACHIE, 18. Luke BRATTAN, 19. Jack HINGERT, 22. Thomas BROICH (c)

    Substitutes not used:

    Coach: Mike Mulvey

    Yellow Cards: Nil
    Red Cards: Nil

    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    20. Glen MOSS (gk), 2. Emmanuel MUSCAT, 3. Tony LOCHHEAD, 4. Isaka CERNAK (21. Daniel SANCHEZ 27’), 8. Paul IFILL (10. Stein HUYSEGEMS 63’), 12. Tyler BOYD, 16. Louis FENTON, 17. Vince LIA, 18. Ben SIGMUND, 22. Andrew DURANTE (c), 23. Corey GAMEIRO

    Substitutes not used: 1. Mark PASTON (gk), 7. Leo BERTOS

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Corey GAMEIRO 38’, Ben SIGMUND 74’, Daniel SANCHEZ 83’
    Red Cards: Nil

    Referee: Alan Milliner 7/10
    Assistant referee 1: Nathan MacDonald, Assistant referee 2: Andrew Lindsay. Fourth official: Adam Kersey

    BOTN Player Points:
    > 3. Luke Brattan (BR)
    2. Louis Fenton (WP)
    1. Shane Steffanutto (BR)

    Pitch rating: 1/10 - eggball action has killed it! No longer conducive to quality football

    Game rating: 5/10

    Match report and ratings: By Jeremy Ruane

No photos this time

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 are as attributed.

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