Hyundai A-League - 2012/2013 - Season 8

Brisbane Held To Draw In Wellington
By Jeremy Ruane
with the compliments of

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 3
4:30pm, Sunday 21 October, 2012
at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Stein Huysegems 16')

drew with
Brisbane Roar FC 1
(Besart Berisha 39')

Wellington Phoenix and reigning Hyundai A-League champions Brisbane Roar fought out a generally tame 1-1 draw at Westpac Stadium on 21 October, with the 9,182 fans present witnessing an encounter which, after a bright first half, fizzled out markedly after half-time.

The home team took the game to Brisbane throughout the first forty-five minutes - rare indeed are the occasions when the visitors are outplayed - but nearly found themselves trailing on the scoreboard inside the first two minutes.

Leo Bertos’ stray pass allowed Besart Berisha to bear down on goal at a great rate of knots, but with team-mates better placed either side of him, the reigning Golden Boot went for glory, only to see Mark Paston block his effort to safety.

Bertos looked to make amends for this blemish in the thirteenth minute. He made in-roads down the right past two opponents before whipping in a delicious cross which both Jeremy Brockie and Paul Ifill were only inches away from doing justice to.

Seconds later, a Bertos corner gave Brisbane’s defence cause for concern, with Alex Smith, Ben Sigmund and Michael Boxall all seeing attempts on goal blocked by close-marking opponents.

Such was Wellington’s dominance at this stage, however, that a goal which would delight the locals seemed inevitable, and it duly arrived in the sixteenth minute. Ifill worked an opening on the right from which he lobbed the ball into the penalty area.

Louis Fenton was his target, and he brought the sphere down before steering it into the stride of Stein Huysegems, who calmly stroked the ball home beyond the renamed Michael Theo - perhaps Theoklitos was too big for his shirt! - and into the bottom corner of the net.

Wellington’s lead was well deserved, and they nearly doubled it three minutes later. Fenton was hauled back by Shane Steffanutto as he burst through Brisbane’s back four, which presented Ifill with the chance to rifle home a twenty-five yard free-kick.

He duly let rip for the top far corner of the net, and was only denied by the fingertips of the former Football Kingz custodian, who denied Ifill again in less challenging fashion in the 28th minute, smothering a tame effort by Wellington’s talisman after he got the better of Brisbane captain Matt Smith on the counter-attack.

Prior to this effort, the champions had begun to flex their muscles, the alert Paston denying Berisha in the 21st minute after Mitch Nichols and Ben Halloran had made in-roads down the right.

The offside flag harshly denied Thomas Broich soon after, as Brisbane produced the best move of the match thus far, while before the half-hour mark a cross-shot from Halloran careered across the face of Paston’s goal, before the All Whites’ goalkeeper produced a fine save low to his right to deny Berisha’s shot on the turn, after the speedy Halloran had picked him out with a driven cross.

Back came Wellington, Bertos and Brockie combining on the right to allow Ifill space in which to fire in a cross, Fenton his intended target. The ball flew narrowly over the head of the flying youngster, while another delicious delivery from Ifill, in the 34th minute, parted what’s left of Huysegems’ hair after Bertos had broken up a Brisbane break and brought the Barbados international into the action once more.

Brockie and Alex Smith went close soon after, before a slick counter-attacking one-two between Berisha and Massimo Murdocca saw the Albanian draw the defence before setting up Nichols to strike.

Paston blocked this 37th minute effort with his legs, but was powerless to prevent Berisha from levelling the scores two minutes later. Played in by Murdocca, the league’s leading marksman calmly lofted the ball over the approaching goalkeeper and into the net behind to give Brisbane a parity they scarcely deserved at this point in the match.

They nearly took the lead on the stroke of half-time, Stefanutto’s teasing cross-shot narrowly clearing the crossbar. But after the interval, normal service resumed, with Brisbane now the dominant side, and Wellington feeding off scraps.

But while the visitors held sway, they created very little of consequence. Paston was alert to the danger posed by Halloran in the 51st minute, a raid countered by the home team four minutes later as Ifill made in-roads down the left before his pull-back, intended for Fenton, was pounced on by Theo.

Fortune favoured Wellington in the 61st minute. A Broich free-kick picked out the head of Erik Paartalu, who directed the ball across for Murdocca to hook back into the goalmouth. His delivery ricocheted off both Boxall and Berisha before creeping a foot wide of the stranded Paston’s left-hand post - the ‘keeper knew little about it.

Ifill, Wellington’s most dangerous player throughout proceedings, worked an opening for his side in the 68th minute which brought Fenton into play. He picked out Brockie in the penalty area, and after holding play up, the much-travelled striker engineered some space from which to unleash a drive which careered narrowly past the far post, the diving figure of Theo well beaten by the shot.

That was a rare moment of possession for Wellington, but Brisbane were finding the task of breaking down their opponents decidedly difficult. Nine minutes from time, however, they contrived a terrific opportunity to take the lead, with Murdocca and Berisha combining on the right.

Fullback Jack Hingert found himself deep inside Wellington’s penalty area with the ball at his feet as a result of his team-mates’ teamwork, but was unable to do justice to the opening thanks to Boxall, who thwarted his opponent’s attempts to break the deadlock.

That sparked a final flurry from Wellington, during which they forced a couple of corners and generally gave their fans hope that they could clinch the three points in the shadows of the full-time whistle.

But despite the efforts of Brockie, Ifill and the enterprising runs of substitute Tyler Boyd in the dying minutes, the 1-1 scoreline didn’t change, a result which maintains the home team’s unbeaten start to the campaign.

2012/2013 Hyundai A-League - Round 3
4:30pm, Sunday 21 October, 2012
at Westpac Stadium, Wellington, NZ

Wellington Phoenix FC 1
(Stein Huysegems 16')

drew with
Brisbane Roar FC 1
(Besart Berisha 39')

    Crowd: 9,182


    Wellington Phoenix FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Mark Paston (GK), 2. Emmanuel Muscat, 3. Tony Lochhead, 5. Michael Boxall, 6. Alex Smith (17. Vince Lia 82’), 7. Leo Bertos, 8. Paul Ifill, 10. Stein Huysegems (61’), 11. Jeremy Brockie, 16. Louis Fenton (12. Tyler Boyd 70’), 18. Ben Sigmund (c)

    Substitutes not used: 20. Glen Moss (rgk)

    Coach: Ricki Herbert

    Yellow Cards: Louis Fenton 63'
    Red Cards: Nil

    Brisbane Roar FC :
    Player listing:
    1. Michael Theo (GK), 2. Matt Smith (capt), 3. Shane Stefanutto, 4. Matt Jurman, 6. Erik Paartalu, 7. Besart Berisha, 8. Massimo Murdocca, 11. Ben Halloran (10. Henrique 77’), 17. Mitch Nichols, 19. Jack Hingert (13. Yuki Takahashi 90’+1), 22. Thomas Broich

    Substitutes not used: 20. Matt Acton (rgk), 24. Nick Fitzgerald

    Coach: Rado Vidosic

    Yellow Cards: Shane Stefanutto 18’
    Red Cards:Nil

    Referee: Adam Kersey 8/10 - given an armchair ride, but did what he had to do well.
    Assistants: Mark Rule, Glen Lochrie; Fourth Official: Matt Conger

    BOTN Player Points:
    > 3. Besart Berisha (BR)
    2. Paul Ifill (WP)
    1. Michael Boxall

    Pitch rating: 8/10

    Game rating: 8/10

    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, are as attributed.

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